Yemen government vows to save economy from collapse

Al Houthis remotely disable Aden central bank’s terminals from Sana’a

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: Yemen’s government has pledged to keep the country’s economy on the right track, a day after shifting the central bank’s main office from Al Houthi-controlled Sana’a to Aden.

To assuage fears about possible serious repercussions of the decision, prime minister Ahmad Bin Daghar said on Monday night that his government is committed to rescuing the economy and paying the country’s internal and foreign debt. “Yemen’s government will meet all commitments regarding foreign and external debt and would inject cash into the central bank [in Aden] to pay government salaries of civilian and military employees.” Bin Daghar said on Twitter.

Responding to sceptical economists who predicted the shift of monetary authority would have destructive repercussions on the economy, Bin Daghar said his government is responsible for addressing the country’s financial woes like late salary payments. By moving the bank’s headquarters to Aden, the internationally recognised government said that it has denied the rebels access to the country’s reserves in foreign banks. The row over the central bank mismanagement came to the fore in August when the government officially accused the former governor of the bank, Mohammad Bin Humam, of turning a blind eye to Al Houthis’ tapping into the bank’s reserves.

Al Houthi-controlled central bank in Sana’a on Tuesday remotely disabled the computer terminals that were to be used by the new central bank headquarters in Aden, local media said. Aden Al Ghad news site quoted workers as saying that they were forced leave the bank early as they could not pay salaries after the Al Houthis switched off the system from Sana’a.

Officials told the website that they are in touch with the central bank in Sana’a to convince them to enable the system. Al Houthi official media said that the fired governor of the bank held a meeting with directors of local banks in Sana’a and urged them to keep customers optimistic about the financial activities in the country.

Meanwhile, on the ground, intensive clashes ensued between the government forces and Al Houthis backed by forces loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Taiz, Hajja, Marib, Shabwa and outside the capital.

The government-allied Yemen National Army media centre said on Monday that 30 Al Houthi fighters surrendered to the government forces in Serwah district after coming under siege for days. Government loyalists advanced deeply into the Serwah, rebels’ last bastion in Marib, taking control of hilly locations and the city’s airport.

Saudi-led coalition warplanes launched on Tuesday air strikes hitting Al Houthi-controlled military sites in Sana’a, Hajja and Taiz.

The Saudi-led coalition that began bombing Al Houthis in March last year managed to thwart the rebels’ territorial expansion by enabling the government forces to recapture most of the country’s land including all oil and gas rich provinces. The government forces are now almost 30km from the capital.

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