Multi-billion anti-poverty campaignGovernment moves [Archives:2003/627/Business & Economy]

March 17 2003

By Mahyoub al-Kamali
Yemen Times Staff

Other than its war on terror the Yemeni government is launching another kind of war, i.e. a war on poverty through implementation of a strategy receiving support by donor countries. The campaign which is designed to take a duration extending over the period 2003-2005 is estimated to be costing around YR 413.4 billion. The strategy is aimed at reducing the present proportion of poverty by 13.1 per cent and by 35.9 at the end of the implementation of the plan.
Figures derived from the strategy indicate that the size of poverty among the population falling under the poverty line amounts to 6.9 million people. The plan on the other hand aims at raising the rate of those joining the primary education to 69.3 per cent at the end of 2005.
The strategy expects to raise the number of cases benefiting from the social care fund to 600610 cases at the of the targeted period and expanding the umbrella of social securities to cover 1529 thousand workers, in addition to training 5430 of the disabled at the centers for training the handicapped.
The plan has also given attention to rehabilitation of the handicapped by providing 4190 job opportunities and the accommodation of around 6750 orphans at care-offering houses and also accommodation for 2500 homeless and beggar children.
As regards facing the water crisis the plan seeks to develop services of the network to cover about 69 per cent of urban population and 65 per cent of countryside people along with increasing sewage services and raising the proportion of covering power services extended to 22 per cent of countryside population. The plan also intends to combat poverty by expansion in building paved roads to enhance traffic movement in addition to maintaining 3194-long km of existing paved roads.
Cost of implementing the strategy is estimated at YR 413.4 billion. YR 18.9 billion for the new projects and 394 billion for programs and projects under construction.
Proportion of local funding for the total cost is estimated at about 73 per cent while the remainder would be covered by foreign funding sources. The strategy considers development of human element as the most significant of its goals, giving priority to education, health and services projects.
Requisites for improvement of health services are defined by allocations of 2.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and by 6.6 per cent of the total general expenditure. The strategy expects a big increase in investment sector estimated at around 11.5 per cent. In dependence on the general lines of the plan the government seeks to achieve economic growth in order to tackle the real causes of poverty and provide ways of living and strengthening the poor capability and increasing their income as well as improving the social, economic and social circumstances around them.
The strategy seems to be ambitious despite that poverty is in a state of spiralling up in the Yemeni society. It is feared that some sides would manipulate in the implementation of projects designed for combating poverty, a matter that would increase the people suffering.