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Yemen makes baby-steps toward recovery amid security disorder
Writes/ yemen fox
Published Since: One Year and 11 Month and 5 Days
Saturday 24 November 2012 01:39 am


Yemen has made slow pace towards recovery one year after a Gulf-brokered peace deal was signed, despite security disorder that casts a cloud on the general situation, especially the West-backed political transition.
 
Officials at the central bank of Yemen and the planning and trade ministries said there are signs that the situation has slightly started to improve after the unrest, pointing to positive economic indicators.
 
The country's foreign exchange reserve increased to about 5 billion U.S. dollars in the past few months, thanks to major efforts by the transitional government and to the Saudi one- billion-dollar deposit.
 
Saudi Arabia deposited 1 billion dollars in Yemen's central bank to help stabilize the Yemeni riyal and contribute to the transitional government's efforts to return the situation to normal.
 
Also, bank officials pointed to increasing oil revenues this year under the effort of the government to build up oil and gas sector which contributes about 70 percent to the state budget.
 
The oil and minerals ministry has launched a drive to restructure the oil and gas sector, formulating a new production sharing agreement including oil and gas.
 
The ministry has also agreed with Total and Suez to improve the prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under their long-term contracts as from 2013.
 
Lately, the ministry said the LNG revenues will increase to about 400 million dollars under the contracts of two French LNG buyers next year.
 
The agreement with Total and Suez was a good sign that the new government is trying to straighten the situation up, especially since oil products make up about 90 percent of the country's exports.
 
"There are not statistics about improvement at the moment, but I can assure that everything is better and improving now," said Fuad Huwaidi, director general for foreign trade department at the trade and industry ministry.
 
Still, Yemen is looking forward to donor pledges that officials and economists said will be the best engine to boost the national economy.
 
Suleiman Al-Qutabry, assistant deputy minister of planning for development projects, said the government is holding meetings on the priorities and mechanisms to use donor pledges.
 
"We should prepare our programs to absorb external aid by December as agreed with donors. With that readied on time and satisfactorily, external aid will start to flow and then Yemen will see true development programs that in turn will reflect strong, positive economic indicators," he said.
 
Observers said what the transitional government has been doing serves the political transition, though they pointed to problems affecting Yemen's recovery.
 
Abdul Ghani Al-Maweri, a political analyst and writer, said the transitional government in Yemen is facing three big problems topped by the political deadlock over the southern cause.
 
"There is a political deadlock on one of the most important national issues: the southern cause," he said, "I don't see something practical has been achieved on this issue, and that makes people not sure how the future will be."
 
"The second problem, and this is more dangerous, is the tiny steps toward economic recovery," he said.
 
"The political success is bound to economic reforms and recovery. I see that slowness to boost the national economy is directly affecting the democratic change," he said.
 
Al-Maweri added that "Alarming security disorder can largely be blamed on the division of the army," noting "that really casts shadow on Yemen's recovery."
 
"The political transition is receiving support from international community and I think there the national dialogue conference will be held," he added, however, the question remains: "Will the national dialogue be successful?"
 
"I can't predict amid conflicting indicators at the moment, but I hope the dialogue will come off," he added.
 
Marzouk Abdulwadoud, head of the economic and social development researches center "ESDR," said political and economic stability requires competent security systems.
 
"I think the security situation tops the problems facing the transitional government as I hope everything will be OK to go ahead perfectly," he continued.
 
"Security disorder in Yemen persists despite the devotion of the transitional government to put an end to it. It is affecting the national economy directly and badly," he said.
 
It is well known in any country that security is the first factor to attract investments and what is going on in our country is behind the reluctance of foreign investors to come into Yemen, he said.
(Xinhua)
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