Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

World Bank: Our Operations Remain Suspended in Yemen | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Houthi militant sits amidst debris from the Yemeni Football Association building. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

London,Cairo–Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi revealed that the Yemeni government is studying a number of economic options for Yemen.

Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that after militias looted the central reserve, the government is working on keeping aid from reaching the insurgents.

Regarding the interactions between International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Houthis, Mekhlafi said that the world is beginning to understand the economic situation and the role of militias.

Minister Mekhlafi also spoke of a series of procedures the government will undertake to ensure the insurgents are not receiving any more money.

The Yemeni government is conducting several meetings with local and Gulf businessmen in order to secure a platform that supports the Yemeni economy.

In addition, the government is working on stabilizing the situation in liberated areas.

Meanwhile, and under militia’s control, the Central Bank failed to meet its requirements in paying the salaries of government employees.

World Bank operations are still suspended in Yemen. World Bank spokesperson told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the bank is waiting for better conditions to come so that it resumes operations.

The spokesperson explained that since January 2016, the only operation conducted by the World Bank is the Polio eradication initiative which was done in cooperation with the United Nations (U.N.) and World Health Program (WHO).

World Bank temporarily closed its offices in Sanaa in 2015 after the Houthis took control.

According to Chairman of the Studies and Economic Media Center Mustafa Nasr, the government must consider taking serious steps to retrieve its control over economic resources.

Nasr presented a number of proposals, including developing an emergency government budget. He also suggested that the branch of Central Bank in Aden resume its work, in addition to forming special units that enable merchants of importing goods in cooperation with member countries of the Saudi-led coalition.

Chairman Nasr told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that unfortunately the Yemeni government fell in the trap of the so-called economic truce that neutralized the role of the Central Bank in Sanaa under Houthis’ control. He added that the truce was reached under pressure from the IMF and the World Bank.

Nasr explained that after more than a year of Houthi control over government institutions in Sanaa, including the Central Bank, information revealed that Houthis drained an estimated 4.7 billion dollars of the reserve.

According to Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, only 1.2 billion dollars are left.

Chairman Nasr went on to say that Houthis are in trouble now and may not pay salaries in the coming few months. He explained that taxes and custom fairs can cover up to five or six months worth of wages, and the rest should be incorporated from treasury bills.

Yet, and according to Nasr, that is not possible given that the national debt had reached 26 billion dollars.

Nasr concluded that there are several options for the government, should it be able to effectively manage the crisis.