Despite government programs and foreign aidPoverty still rampant during Greater Bairam [Archives:2004/708/Business & Economy]

February 2 2004

Despite a strategic plan to fight it, and support of donor countries, poverty is still prevalent in all parts of Yemen, snatching the smile from children, elderly people and women faces.
This includes the workers who have been laid off public sector projects, subjected to privatization program.
In a field survey in the capital streets it has been revealed that about 75% of workers has decided to stay in the capital Sana'am and not to travel to their birthplace villages to spend the Greater Bairam holidays among their families.
A tiles worker Hamoud Saif Ahmed said the reason why he was staying in the capital during the Eid holidays was that the money he had saved since coming to Sana'a for work amounted to only YR 27.5 thousand and therefore he preferred not to travel to his village in Shar'ab area, Taiz governorate.
Thus he posted the money to his family to buy some of the Eid shoppings. He said if he had decided to go to his family half of the sum would go for transport and his personal needs, and as for the sheep to be sacrificed in the Eid he said his family would manage as it is used to prepare it a year before the time of Eid.
Another worker, Qassem al-Sabri, who works in constructions sees that the Greater Bairam could be a good opportunity for finding a job during the holiday and therefore he would stay in the capital.
He says the capital municipality would be on leave and some people would embark on building their houses in areas that are not designed on the maps. Therefore he hopes the holiday would help him save some money for his family and to pay back some money he had borrowed to by a sheep for the sacrifice for the Eid.
A plumber, Mohammed Farhan al-Utmi, says there is no joy in the Eid for him because of his not getting a job in two months since he came to the capital.
The money he's earned is not enough to meet his own personal needs, and he queries how he could manage the money enough for his family to buy a sheep whose price is ranging between 80 to 150 dollars at least.
So all these are similar cases observed in the survey and they point out that the social safety net, since its being launched for fighting and ending the phenomenon of poverty in the Yemeni society since 1995, has not produced the effect hoped for.
Saeed Ali al-Maswari, a worker in a private sector factory in the capital, says his monthly salary would not assist him to spend on his travel to the village to spend the festivities of Eid amidst his family that numbers even members.
The same case could be applied to numerous people of the limited income segment of those working for government institutions. Thus most of those people prefer to stay in the capital on such occasions under pressure of the drop in their incomes and deterioration of their purchasing power that throughout the whole year looking for jobs to cover the expensive expenditure of their families against the rise in price rates in general.
Around 255 workers at non-governmental institutions and public sector live with their families in the capital and spend what money they gain on their daily life without being able to save additional sums of money.
The suffering and the phenomenon of poverty draws a miserable picture of the life of those of limited income in Yemen, and these scenes are repeated on all occasions. All this happens despite the government's implementation of the strategy for fighting poverty supported with $2.5 billion by donor organizations and countries.