Cairo: Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has ordered an increase in salaries amid mass protests in several parts of the war-ravaged country over hard living conditions.
Hadi ordered a 30 per cent rise in salaries of public sector employees, including retirees and contractors, starting from September, Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al Iryani said.
The step is part of a series of measures taken with the aim of easing life problems in Yemen where the local currency has lost about two thirds of its value since Iran-allied Al Houthi militants ousted the government in late 2014.
Hadi on Sunday presided over a meeting of an economic committee in Riyadh, where he has often stayed since the Al Houthi coup.
The meeting resulted in a host of decisions, including the closure of unlicensed foreign exchange offices, tightening of the central bank’s monitor of legal forex offices, and a ban on leaving the country with foreign currency without the bank’s permission, Al Iryani said in a series of tweets.
The committee also agreed to take urgent steps to start gas exports in order to boost the hard currency revenues, according to the minister.
Al Houthis are believed to hoard foreign currency to use it for purchasing weapons.
Several Yemeni cities, including Aden, the seat of Hadi’s government, have seen mass rallies in the past two days.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Monday in the southern provinces of Lahij, Dhale and Abyan.
The demonstrators demanded the government act to halt the local currency from further plummeting, and to curb hikes in food prices. Shops and petrol stations were closed in a gesture of solidarity with the protesters, Yemeni media reported.
Meanwhile, Hadi on Monday arrived in the US to attend the annual UN General Assembly meetings and undergo regular medical check-ups, Yemen’s state news agency Saba reported. The trip had been scheduled months earlier, Al Iryani said.
In September 2014, Al Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sana’a in a coup against the internationally recognised government.
In March 2015, an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in Yemen at a request from the government against Al Houthis after the militants advanced on the southern city of Aden after their takeover of Sana’a.