At the center of discussions at the recently concluded 16th Annual Arab Business Community Forum was the public and private sectors in the Arab world and their visualized roles in the future. The Federation of Arab Businessmen organized the Forum and it was held at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre in Amman, Jordan.
Panelists were assigned the duty of evaluating the situation of Arab economies while the requirements for reform as well as the need for streamlining relation between the two spindles of the economy was also raised.
The Arab world was noted as having the tendency of bloated government sectors that are underachieving and over staffed. The wage bill in the region assumes huge portions of budgets in some cases up to 55 to 65 percent including pension payments. The average employment of the public sector, both military and civil, constitutes forty to fifty percent of the overall labor force.
Governments are costly and peculiarly, the main business of the government is to settle their own problems instead of being a tool for easing the lives of people and performing their duties of ensuring justice, equity, protection, security, and supervision.
The forum noted that Governments were slender and productive in the post-colonial era. They became mean and efficient as they started to develop and become the employer. They ultimately tuned into large entities, focusing mainly on fixing their own situations.
The forum recognized that governments must pull back a good deal of what they do and assign it to the private sector for them to become effective and productive. They are no more capable of supervising and regulating with the heavy load of doing things they shouldn’t do.
In the Arab world, growing public debt and deficits of budgets have stretched public services to unrealistic levels. Budgetary deficits and public debts are keeping the economies of the region captive to lenders, both foreign and domestic, and they will ultimately fail, causing large and long-term economic crises.
Most of the governments of the Arab world, even the oil rich countries are currently battling to rescue their economies from trouble. Political reforms are therefore needed to re-evaluate the relationship between both sectors in compliance with an agreed national strategy and unity of purpose.
The roles and responsibilities of each sector are needed to be defined under the power of a law that is applicable to all, the forum suggested
And lastly, a process of change that would ensure more economic independence and integrity was pointed out as a viable option for growth in the region.