Monday, 25 April 2011

Unrest Costs Yemen Economy $ 4-5 Billion , Minister says

Source: Yemen Post, 26/04/2011

Unrest which entered a third month in April in Yemen has cost the national economy $ 4-5 billion so far, Minister for Trade and Industry said on Monday.

In an interview with the mouthpiece of the ruling party Al-Mithaq Newspaper, Hisham Sharaf said that unrest has directly hit tourism, foreign trade and investments and Yemeni exports.

" I hoped that any crisis in Yemen would not affect the basic and daily needs of the people, especially gas, and that the political disagreements would not be negatively exploited at the expense of the people," he said.

Amid the acute gas shortage blamed on road closures in Marib province, the government had to buy gas from abroad, he said, urging to release the gas truck on Marib-Sana'a road.

I think everyone knows that 90 percent of the local supply of gas comes through Marib, he said.

Today, the people continued to close the streets in the capital Sana'a in protest at the gas shortage, days after the U.S. embassy was said to have intervened and reopened the main gas transportation route upon a request from the government and the opposition.

Furthermore, Sharaf said the fall of exports, mainly of oil due to the continuous road closures and bombing oil pipelines was the only reason for the climbing rates of the U.S. dollar against the Yemeni riyal as well as the shortage of hard currencies in the Yemeni markets.

When this crisis ends, the U.S. dollar rates will decrease, he said, pointing out that if the political rivals sit around the dialogue table, this will boost the national economy.

The GCC member states have assured us they will support Yemen after the crisis, he concluded.

Meanwhile, the dueling protests are continuing in most of the Yemeni cities at a time when the government is stepping up the crackdown on the protests calling for an immediate ouster of Saleh.

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