Thursday, December 30, 2010

the real issues

I guess we all keep forgetting about the real issues in our country. The politicians in the opposition keep fighting and spend all their energy and time on ways to remove the those in power from the government. The politicians in the government spend their energy and time on ways to defend their power, and ways to defame the opposition. In this battle, the citizens keep suffering, as the real issues are not well addressed.

The real issues like health care, education, drugs, crimes. Issues like respect for each other, caring for each other. Issues like work ethics, work productivity, and customer focus and customer satisfaction.

We have all been talking about increasing government expenditure, and the increasing expenditure on the salaries and benefits to the employees in the government. At the same time, we have been talking about the low productivity in most government offices and authorities. We all know that many lack the necessary work ethics, still fight for better salaries, and more benefits. The same thing is seen in the private sector as well. Even if you visit a restaurant or a cafe', you'd hardly see the waiters or the managers genuinely trying or putting an effort to make the customer happy and satisfied. They dont seem too much customer focused. Mostly, you'd see the same kind of poor work ethics, and lack of enthusiasm in performing their duties. I guess these are the real issues in our country. We need to increase worker productivity in the private sector. We need to improve service delivery even in the government sector. Employment needs to be made competitive, so that people realize the importance of being employed in a job, and performing the duties, and most of all, to become a responsible citizen.

These are the kind of issues that politicians need to spend time on addressing. Thinking of ways to improve them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why democracy may not survive in Maldives

I have been continuously criticizing the Parliament, the Judiciary, and the government on various matters relating to our nation, and kept repeating that democratic reforms that we are trying to so forcefully implant is way too costly for us at this juncture. Its not only me, many have been talking about this, and expressed concern over this issue, and left us all wondering whether this so-called 'democracy' will survive in Maldives. Whether this democracy could die in a very painful death in its infant stage. I believe that there are many signs, and reasons to believe that we may be heading towards a situation where, people will in the end get 'fed up' with this democracy thing, and would prefer things to be a little bit 'un-democratic'.

Our society has become extremely polarized, and even within the opposition, there is persistent fight for power. Genuine efforts by the government top officials are not evident, to consolidate differences in opinion, and move the country towards prosperity. Enough is not done towards addressing the short-falls in the Laws and regulations, and on enforcing the existing ones. Sincerity is not apparent from the parliamentarians and most politicians.

Law and order is not maintained. Young teenagers are getting killed on the street. Gang fights have become so frequent. People have started losing faith and confidence in the Police. And recently, many have become frustrated on the way the government has been handling or managing the issues related to Islam.

Finally, what matters most if are to survive as a country. It's the economy, stupid. Our economy is facing huge fiscal imbalance due to the high government budget deficit in the last few years, and failure to address this issue. We are talking about a deficit which is over 20 percent of GDP, and the highest in the world. We have a current account deficit above $400 million in the past four years. We have an external debt of over $500 million which is borrowed by the government, and further $400 million borrowed by the banks from overseas. So in total an external debt exceeding $900 million, which is same as our GDP. With a budget deficit, and a current account deficit (twin deficit) and a huge a external debt, the economy becomes extremely vulnerable and un-attractive to international investors and aid-providers. The situation becomes worse when we do not see the required fiscal reforms, and lack of any hope for such reforms. There is every reason to believe that the current Constitution may not be able to save us from these problems. Hence, when we finally hit the 'rock-bottom', it is less likely that democracy can save us. In a time of such crisis, we may need to rely on a leader who is more autocratic, and people may feel that we need a leader who can solve our problems, and nothing else.