Shoura Council’s report:There are 38 reasons behind poverty and unemployment [Archives:2008/1201/Business & Economy]

October 23 2008

Mohammed Bin Sallam
According to a recent report released by Yemeni Shoura Council, discrimination between individuals and groups in light of their race and regions, appointing relatives and protecting them against oversight in high positions, excepting removing senior posts from accountability, and the illegal earning acquisition of money and wealth by a particular social group constitute the most prominent reasons for poverty and unemployment. Additionally, social security allowances paid to vulnerable people are not even enough to cover their daily expenses.

The report listed as many as 38 reasons for poverty and unemployment, which the nation suffers during their expansion and growth, saying that poverty and unemployment need no evidence to prove their severe expansion,. H however, there are many statistical tables containing scores on the poor and jobless peopleunemployed.

The report also indicated that absent the absence of accountability and questioning in many sensitive state's institutions is responsible for the waste of public funds and the exploiting exploitation of government jobs to practicefor illegal earning. It highlighted that the Central Organization for Control and Audit (COCA) is one of the few institutions, which areis excepted exempt from oversight and accountability.

Poor qualifications and incompetence of some state leaders in state's institutions,, in addition to favoritism and nepotism in appointing government servants, embezzling public funds, unequal opportunities in appointments and promotion in government institutions, unfair criteria followed in the public and mixed sectors, violating effective laws and regulations and using power and influence to achieve certain interests are among the actual reasons behind poverty and unemployment in Yemen.

The Shoura Council's report also highlighted mismanagement and , migration of local capital s for investment abroad due to corruption and job inflation in institutions of the public and mixed sectors where thewithout eligibility verification is not applied for the selection of job applicants for jobs as some of the reasons behind the phenomenon.

According to the report, people's incomes are not enough to cover the cost of their basic necessities and provide them basic services such as water, electricity, transportation and communication. It pointed out that recent surveys confirm that 80 percent of citizen's expenses go for to food, most notably among vulnerable groups that are deprived of basic services and luxury means.

The report argued that 41 percent of Yemen's rural population lives on less than two dollars per day, and 85 percent of Yemen's poor population live in rural areas. It clarified that 47 percent of Yemen's population are illiterate, which is another reason for poverty and unemployment.

Additionally, the low domestic production doesn't help provide the basic necessities and services for citizens while the country's agricultural production accounts for only 19.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The agricultural sector contains only 30.9 percent of the national workforce.

The report noted that poverty is also symptomatic a symptom of poor basic services, scarce financial resources and low returns from natural wealth such as oil, gas, minerals and fisheries while revenues from public investments and taxes are exposed to corruption and embezzlement.

The Shoura Council held Yemen's big external loans, poor coordination between relevant government agencies in project implementation, conflict of interests, and extravagant spending on celebrations, travels and constructing new facilities responsible for poverty and unemployment.

The actual reasons behind poverty and unemployment also included Yemen's inability to cope with rapid technological and scientific advancements in the areas of higher and technical education and vocational training, plus the lack of scientific research centers.

The Shoura Council's report clearly identified the real causes of economic crisis and poor living standards in the country. Before it was submitted to President of the Republic, the report was amended. A reliable source said the copy of the report, which was submitted to the Presidential Office, was amended and some of the report's text that focused on poverty and unemployment factors was deleted.

The report suggested many recommendations to overcome poverty and unemployment, thereby advising the government to expand the social security network, mainly as in terms of the current allowances, which as the amount that vulnerable people currently get from social security funds don't cover their basic necessities.

Yemeni children in international reports: labor, sexual abuses and school dropouts

Recent scientific studies revealed that there are around 30 thousand child laborers in streets of main cities countrywide. Prepared by the Center to Rehabilitate Child Laborers (CRCL), the study confirmed that younger boys account for 80 percent of child laborers in street while the remaining 20 percent are girls.

According to the study, Dhamar tops the list of Yemeni governorates in terms of the number of child laborers with 21 percent of the total laborers nationwide, followed by Sana'a with 19 percent and Hodeidah stands third with 18 percent. The remaining percentage of child laborers is distributed over other urban areas in the republic.

The study explained that 40 percent of child laborers in streets of main cities sell newspapers, mineral water, foodstuffs and other fast food items in handcarts. Other child laborers work in caskets and sshops. The scores indicate that at least 50 percent of child laborers work with their parents while others work with relatives or alone. Other scores highlight that more than 15 thousand Yemeni children under age 12 suffer hard living conditions, and therefore were forced to drop out of schools and go to streets in search for work.

Another academic study on child labor, which was released in the fourth quarter of 2007, disclosed that nearly 49 percent of child laborers are girls, who are forced by their families to work in farmlands at an early age while the majority of boys sell commodities and other stuffs.

According to a study, submitted by Yemeni Minister of Trade and Industry Khalid Rajih Sheikh, there are as many as 30 thousand Yemeni child laborers, most of who sell newspapers, water, domestic commodities, cassettes, fruits and vegetables or clean cars in streets. The study pointed out that 41 percent of those child laborers sell agricultural products and fish in streets, and are often exposed to crackdown by municipality officers.

Child laborers work for 17 hours a day

The Yemeni Trade and Industry Minister's study labeled poverty as the primary factor behind child labor, adding that families don't encourage their kids to go to school as they are unable to afford school expenses. It stated that 40 percent of child laborers in Yemen work from 11 to 17 hours per day while 46 percent of them work for 6 – 10 hours per day, pointing out that Yemeni Labor Law doesn't allow children to work except in specific areas.

Article (45) of the Law, issued in 1995, reads stipulates that children must not work more than seven hours a day or 42 hours a week, adding that employers must not have children work for entire four hours without a break.

Other scores reveal that there are 700 – 750 thousand children working in various sectors, adding that many of them work in farmlands in rural areas. But in cities, child laborers can be found in workshops, trade stores or selling items at road intersections. Data obtained from the ground indicate that nearly 95 percent of child laborers work in rural areas and the others in cities. Child laborers, who also go to school, account for 39 percent of the total number of child laborers, of whom 24 percent are girls.

According to a report prepared by the Committee of Human Rights, Freedoms and Civil Society at the Shoura Council, 92 percent of child laborers work in the agricultural sector, 4.8 percent in the field of services and 2.5 percent of them constitute unprofessional workforce. The report states that some child laborers work for up to 17 hours per day for very low wages while official scores released in 2003 found that child laborers number up to more than 3.2 million.