The partnership: A Tom and Jerry game [Archives:2007/1024/Opinion]

February 12 2007

Hamoud al-Bakhiti
While the relationship between governments and private sectors has taken advanced steps with various multi forms for the consolidation of trust some institutional entities were established to form an umbrella under which a genuine partnership will emerge based on credibility and transparency.

As for the relationship between our government and the private sector it is in a state of bickering rather than in agreement. The government accuses the private sector of now knowing what it wants, such as wanting amendment to be made in a certain law but does not mention or clarify what articles are supposed to be amended, but it rather says things in a general way. The private sector says the partnership the government talks about is a nominal one confined to statements for propaganda purposes, adding that there is no partnership in decision-making, a question the private sector demands.

Whatever it is said by certain parties in the private sector or the government on good relation between them, it is, if it exists, in fact characterized by investigation and followed with apprehension. There is no credibility between the two sides and no one trusts the other. Perhaps the recent mudslinging in media is the best evidence that the situation existing between the government and the private sector is not normal. It is as if they follow the saying that you can say what you want and we will do what we want.

Observers talk with concern about this unbalanced relationship. They also warn that reflections of this situation will be difficult with regard of attracting investments in Yemen, especially when there is no correct and sound relationship between the government and the private sector.

The observers believe this relation as a mirror reflecting the degree of seriousness and encouragement of others to invest in Yemen. They mean foreign investments in general and Gulf investments in particular. Their argument is that those investors, whether they wished to indulge in 100 percent investments of their own or with local partners, derive their information from the private sector and do not trust in what the government says. This is the case of any private sector wanting to invest in any place and at any time.

The other witness on the bad relationship and non-availability of good will is the existing branching inside the private sector institutions or the many existing formations. Thus the observers consider that the private sector is in need of steering its effort and intention towards its internal affairs so they can face the branching the government is using against each other.

The entities in Yemen that are concerned with dealing with and caring for the private sector, no matter what their projects or orientations are, are very weak. The private sector is considered responsible for weakening itself as a result of non-unity of visions, which has led to a state that each entity antagonizes the other. This makes the government act as a double-dealer and chooses the best for it. This means that the game of Tom and Jerry will continue.

Observers are also of the opinion that it is like that game. It is especially so under the present government where the situation has become very difficult to trust each other.

Nevertheless, the private sector in Yemen is still responsible for the widening circle of the insolent and their emergence under the spotlight.

Hamoud Al-Bakhiti, a journalist and editor in chief of Economy and Markets magazine