Continued increase in poverty cases [Archives:2006/943/Business & Economy]

May 4 2006

By: Mahyoub Al-Kamali

Small Industries & Enterprises Fund (SIEF) has during the first quarter of this year financed 369 small productive projects at a cost of over YR 162 million with an increase of more than YR57 million for the same period last year. The offered loans covered funding new small projects and expansion of existing ones for developing the kind of services offered by those projects. Through granting those easy loans the fund aims to develop the sector of small industries and enterprises in productive, services and commercial areas in addition to mobilization of financial and technical revenues from internal and external sources. It also aims to explore possible investment opportunities in this sector and offer necessary technical consultation and assistance.

Presidential directives have been lately issued for providing a sum of YR 20 million for financing small and medium productive projects and merging the two banks of agricultural credit and lending for housing in one bank called the bank of development, agriculture and housing in order to solve the problem of funding weakness and absorption of unemployment by providing more job opportunities for local labor.

According to sources of the fund the governorate of Sana'a occupied the first position regarding the cost and number of projects funded by it. The fund financed 113 projects in the capital and the governorate of Taiz comes in the second place in this field as its projects financed by the fund amounted to 55. Financing of small projects by the fund also covered the governorates of Hudeidah, Aden and the city of Mukalla.

The fund is at present working at development and activation of its performance and expansion of its activities and services to cover various governorates of the country. It would restructure the fund and develop its systems and to prepare a complete directory on human resources. It is to take more steps to establish an information network connecting the main administration with the fund's governorate branches in preparation of providing a database on the type and needs of each governorate of small projects.

Despite all those efforts the cases of poverty in Yemen are in continuous increase because of the rise in proportion of unemployed workforce at the labor market and aggravation of family problems and drop in their income as well as the rise in the cost of living in general and rates of food stuffs. All that happens despite of official efforts for fighting poverty and for sustainable development.

Small Industries & Enterprises Fund (SIEF) plays a major role in fighting poverty in Yemen and its activities receive government support and from donors. The Fund's projects aim at alleviating poverty in the country but nevertheless rates of unemployment have aggravated and job opportunities decreases at a time prices rates skyrocketed especially prices of essential stuffs and house rents.