Business In Brief [Archives:2007/1031/Business & Economy]

March 8 2007

– Investment conference delayed

The joint Yemeni-GCC committee responsible for the Yemen Investment Conference has decided to delay the conference for the third time until April 23-25. The committee didn't state any particular reason, but claimed that the additional two-week delay will assist the public relations agency in better marketing the conference and in turn, increase regional and international participation.

– COCA report: 30 percent of 2005 budget never collected

The Central Organization for Control and Audit has issued a report indicating that 30 percent of the 2005 government income was accounted for but never deposited into government accounts at the Central Bank.

The total amount due is YR 330 billion, including YR 126.6 billion from the Ministry of Electricity, YR 51.9 billion from the tax authority, YR 42 billion from Aden Refinery and YR 31.4 billion from the Ministry of Oil, with the remainder distributed among other government departments.

– Businessmen's Council criticizes Sana'a Chamber of Commerce

The Yemeni Businessmen's Council has criticized the Sana'a Chamber of Commerce following its call for a mass strike to protest the sales tax, asserting that a strike will freeze the economy, inflate prices and discourage investors from coming to Yemen.

In response, Chamber of Commerce President Mahfoudh Shammakh described the council's leadership as “government agents” who are strangers to the trade profession and employ terrorizing techniques in their practices.

– Malaysian firms eye Yemeni projects worth $2.18 billion

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi and his accompanying delegation's recent visit to Yemen proved successful in fostering Malaysian-Yemeni economic ties. Malaysian firms were offered projects in education, infrastructure development, oil and gas, power generation and power transmission in order to develop Yemen's economy.

Regional and international donors have pledged more than $5.6 billion in development aid for this particular purpose.

– Yemeni exports increase 15 percent in 2006

Yemen's total international trade reached $2.19 trillion in 2006, compared to $2 trillion in 2005, while 2006 exports were $1.23 trillion, a 15 percent increase over 2005. Imports remained constant in 2006.

– Hadramout governor: local communities should monitor oil companies

Hadramout Governor Abdulqader Hilal has indicated that local councils and local communities should play an active role in monitoring international oil companies' operations in the governorate in order to report any environmental or legal violations.

This is especially important regarding the Yemenization policy, which requires oil companies to employ a certain percentage of their staff from those areas where they are operating.

– Five bids to administer Aden Industrial Zone

Minister of Trade and Industry Khalid Sheikh has stated that the ministry has received bids from five international firms (Japanese, Chinese, Kuwaiti, Italian and Yemeni) seeking to administer and manage Aden Industrial Zone, which is located within Aden Free Zone. He stated that the winning bid will be announced during the April 23 Yemen Investment Conference.

Social Fund for Development to finance 933 projects in 2007

The Social Fund for Development has approved financing 933 projects worth $86 million in various parts of the country. The projects are focused on creating small and micro-enterprises in areas of education, rural development, resource management and services.

– Central Bank to keep currency stable

The Central Bank of Yemen sold $81 million last Sunday in an attempt to stabilize the value of the riyal against the U.S dollar in the domestic market. This comes in a series of numerous interventions by the Central Bank to build confidence in the Yemeni riyal and maintain an acceptable level regarding the currency's inflation. The Central Bank has a reserve of more than $7 billion.

– Oil Search to build Yemen's first offshore oil wells

Australia's Oil Search Limited has begun preparations to dig Yemen's first offshore oil wells in Block 15 located across from Al-Shehir city's shore in Hadramout governorate. The well drilling will start before the end of March, after being delayed from 2006 due to late delivery of the oil-drilling ship.

– Yemenia issues first e-ticket

Yemenia Airways has issued its first e-ticket for the Dubai-Sana'a route. This comes as part of an exercise to test and gradually implement the e-ticketing system, wherein customers may plan, book and pay for their Yemenia tickets online without having to visit a travel agent or buy a traditional ticket because all that's needed is a digital printout of the boarding pass purchased online. The system will be implemented on all Yemenia routes by 2008.