Civil disobedience and state institution failure
On the one hand they are right; as residents in Yemen, we often buy fuel to run generators when the electricity is gone—as it often is. We also buy water tankers to compensate for the lack of water services through the national network.
Taxes are another issue. Many companies submit accounts displaying losses to the tax authorities based on the deteriorated economic situation. Other businesses avoid paying taxes—claiming the state does not provide the services it should in return.
These services are not limited to electricity and water, but also roads, communication and other services. Citizens feel the same about other types of services such as education and healthcare.
The attitude is so negative when it comes to the state-citizen relationship that citizens and businesses don’t even acknowledge their responsibility toward the state in response to the country’s practically failed state status and its lack of services.
The civil disobedience has begun taking its toll on the various government institutions relying on taxes and bills. For example, the Water Local Corporation of Mahwait announced bankruptcy and warned that it will close down immediately since it has not been able to collect any of it revenues since last year. Surprisingly, more than 70 percent of debts owed to the corporation are by government institutions.
Another example is the water authority in Sana’a, which decided to focus on providing quality services to uptown areas to ensure at least some revenue. This is because residents in the poorer neighborhoods cannot pay. This is ironic since the state water services are subsidized, and consequently, rich neighborhoods able to afford buying water at higher prices from the private sector benefit from the subsidies of state services, while the poorer areas are deprived.
The relationship between the state and the citizen in Yemen is very complicated and yet key to stabilizing the country. With the notion of civil disobedience spreading around the country, this relationship has become increasingly strained.
State authorities must realize the institutional and cultural factors in their work and carefully deal with this issue urgently so as to avoid the fate of the Mahwait Water Local Corporation and to regain the trust of Yemenis.