Chad - Politics, government, and taxation

Chad's government continues to be dominated by a powerful president and his Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party. After decades of civil war and regional clashes, Chad made some progress in increasing political freedoms and establishing democratic institutions during the 1990s. Nevertheless, elections have been marred by irregularities, and power remains concentrated in the president and his ruling Zaghawa clan. Chronic corruption and human rights abuses have contributed to a resurgence of armed conflict in the far north. These problems have seriously dampened Chad's economic climate and have forced the government to divert scarce resources into military expenditure.

To explain local politics, Chadian political observers have coined an often-quoted dictum: "A man's strength lies in his cooking pot." In such a poor country, vulnerable to famine, politicians ally themselves to the party that can best fill their "cooking pot." The ruling MPS has thus used its control over highly coveted civil service jobs to co-opt many rival parties and develop a nationwide membership. Some opposition parties support a more decentralized federal structure, but most parties rely on regional and ethnic loyalties and do not espouse ideology.

Chad is gradually trying to overcome a legacy of socialism inherited from France. Until recently, state companies enjoyed monopolies over major sectors, and lack of competition encouraged mismanagement and corruption in these companies. The government has privatized Chad's 2 largest banks, its rural water supply company, and its meat packing plant, as well as many other companies. State enterprises continue to control the cotton, electricity, and telecommunications companies, but these companies are due for privatization. The IMF and the World Bank have been helping the government to reduce its direct involvement in the economy.

High taxes and customs duties are another handicap to private business. Because there are so few formal businesses from which tax can be raised, the government must tax these firms heavily to acquire a modest amount of revenue. Corruption is also a major problem in tax collection and customs agencies. The government has, however, made efforts to reduce certain taxes and harmonize its tax and customs system with those of other countries in the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC).

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Chad 0 242 1 0.0 0 0.0 N/A 0.00 1
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
Central African Republic 2 83 5 N/A 0 0.1 N/A 0.00 1
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.
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