Improving infrastructure for fighting poverty [Archives:2004/703/Business & Economy]

January 15 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The Yemeni government is trying to improve the infrastructure in a bid for curbing the negative impact of the spread of poverty phenomenon in implementation of a strategy aimed at raising the proportion of covering from the networks of waters to 69% for urban population and 65% of rural areas population by the beginning of 2005.
The plan includes rising the number of beneficiaries of the sewage networks in the urban areas to 1.7 million people and an average of covering to 44%, increase in the electricity coverage from the public network to 40.30% from the total number of population by 2005 and to around 22.2% of the countryside population.
The plan also includes addition of 3.300 km of asphalt roads, 2.950 km of gravel- paved roads, strengthening of about 3.194 km of asphalt roads in addition to increasing the number of beneficiaries
of social services to about 600.600 case n 2005.
According to the plan the government of Yemen would expand the umbrella of social securities to cover 529000 workers, among whom about 70000 workers from the private sector and training 5430 handicapped in centers of regular education. The plan also includes the providing of 4190 opportunity for handicapped rehabilitation, accommodation of 6750 of orphanages at the social care houses and lodging of 2500 homeless and beggar children..
According to sources at the ministry of planning and international cooperation oil revenues in 2005 would reach 16.2% of the GDP while it is expected that non-oil revenues reach at 12.5% of the GDP in the coming year.
As for current revenues it is expected to be retreating to 29.5% of the GDP in 2005.
Under the recession of current revenues the government intends to adopt a containment policy regarding spending especially the current spending that is expected to drop from 28.2 of GDP in 2003 to 25.4% in 2005.
As for spending on salaries and wages it would be bigger than the volume of spending recorded in 2003 by 9% of the GDP and it is expected an increase in development spending to arrive at 7.8% of the GDP compared to 7% in 2003.
The development spending is aimed at sectors connected to mitigating the phenomenon of poverty for improving the living of the people and providing services for them in the countryside.
Official sources mention that spending on education, health and social care, as a proportion of GDP in 2005, would amount to 9.6%, 2.2% and 1.4% respectively.
Official sources mention that the strategy included lists on investment programs and projects necessary for realizing goals of the plan for fighting poverty as the cost of investment projects during the years 2003-2005 are estimated at YR 413.40 billion. The government says the local councils in the districts and even in he governorates have to follow up and observe implementation of the strategy so that to achieve its goals in fighting poverty.