Yemen runs out of ID cards
“I went to the Olaia police station in Shumaila, a neighborhood in Sana'a, and completed all the procedures, but didn't receive the card,” he said.
“Every day I asked for my card, but they kept telling me that my card would be delayed, with the justification that there were no national numbers,” he said. “They sometimes told me that the problems were with the printing press, but I haven't yet received a reasonable answer,” he added.
Ibrahim Al-Siaghi, a classmate of al-Haddi's, said he didn't want to apply for an ID card because his classmate hadn't obtained his card and had been exhausted as a result of constant attempts.
“I don't want to become weary like my classmate,” Ibrahim told the Yemen Times.
For more than five months, the Civil Status Authority hasn't been able to issue cards to applicants. This delay has caused widespread resentment among citizens.
The Yemen Times visited the Civil Status Authority to meet with officials there, to learn the reasons why the issuing of new cards has been delayed.
Running out of Cards
Colonel Ahmed Al-Harazi, Assistant Director of the Department of Civil Status, asserted in a statement to the Yemen Times that the reason behind the delay is that the cards themselves have run out. He stressed that they do not have any cards at the moment.
“The Civil Statue Authority annually prints a large quantity of cards in the United States with special standards to prevent the counterfeiting of ID cards,” he went on. “The printing and transport of the cards to Yemen takes approximately 120 days. At present, the authority doesn't have even a single card, and that resulted in the problem.”
He pointed out that the authority had taken many actions to address the issue as temporary solutions. Among the actions was providing applicants with provisional forms.
“At the bottom of the form, there is a note explaining that the form is provisional and valid for one month past its issue date,” he said.
Finance Ministry behind the problem
For his part, Ahmed Al-Hadda , Head of the Civil Status Authority's Procurement Section, denied that the authority was behind the absence of cards, and pointed out that the Finance Ministry had refused to approve financial allocations to purchase them.
Al-Hadda indicated that the Civil Status Authority had had a plan to print two million cards this year to avoid problems in the future, and said also that the Finance Ministry had agreed to print only 340,000 cards. This quantity covered only six months.
He said that the authority knew the cards would run out and that they constantly contacted the Finance Ministry to inform concerned officials about this. Al-Hadda added that they had asked them to provide the authority with financial allocations to enable them to print large quantities of cards to avoid any problems.
“Since 2010, the ministry has ignored repeated requests under the pretext that they don't have financial allocations,” he said.
Al-Hadda said that the authority sent a memo on November 8, 2010 to the Finance Ministry, with a demand that financial allocations to print 400,000 cards be approved, but that the ministry neither approved the demand nor responded the memo.
In September, 2011, the authority filed a memo with the Finance Ministry in which they stated out that the authority had only 90,000 cards, holding the ministry fully responsible for any suspension of work.
“As usual, the ministry did not provide any reply, saying only that it had no financial allocations,” he added. “In November 17, 2011, we dispatched a memo to former finance minister Noaman Al-Suhaibi, in which we informed him that the authority's cards had run out, but we have not received any response since then.”
The last attempt to solve this problem was during a meeting between authority officials with new Finance Minister Sakher Al-Wajeeh on February 2, 2012.
According to the head of the Procurement Section, Ahmed Al-Hadda, the authority officials explained to the minister all authority issues, including the cards, the minister understood the issue, and agreed to print new cards.
The minster asked them to complete all procedures to resume work, to communicate with the US Company in charge of printing the cards, and that contracts be prepared.
Al-Hadda said the contracts are still with the Interior Ministry, and reiterated that the ministry had not completed necessary procedures.