State responds to police pensioners’ demands [Archives:2007/1048/Local News]

May 7 2007

SANA'A, May 5 ) Both partisan and media sources report that military and security leaders have promised to improve the living conditions of those personnel forced to retire following the 1994 Civil War.

The sources add, “Deputy Premier Interior Minister Rashad Al-Alimi last week ordered forming a committee headed by Deputy Minister of Interior for Financial Affairs Riyadh Al-Qirshi to look into the demands of the ministry's pensioners, who initiated an open sit-in last month in conjunction with a similar sit-in by armed forces pensioners.”

Meanwhile, the committee decided to reinstate to their units those who were forced to retire and illegally referred to pension, as well as grant them their entitlements, including recent salary increases ensured according to the Wages and Salary Law.

Similarly, the Ministry of Defense is preparing to resolve the problems of army pensioners in collaboration with the Civil Service Ministry. Preparations will include those from southern and eastern Yemen who were forced to retire and illegally referred to pension following the 1994 Civil War. reported Abdullah Al-Kaboudi, director of financial affairs at the Defense Ministry, as saying that his ministry has conducted numerous meetings with concerned authorities to come up with solutions within the coming days.

Hundreds of pensioners from southern and eastern Yemen staged a peaceful sit-in for more than a month, demanding settling their issues and granting them their deserved entitlements.

Yemeni authorities who won the 1994 Civil War discharged thousands of military and civil employees from southern and eastern Yemeni governorates.

In a letter to Prime Minister Ali Mujawar, the Social Pensioners Association in Aden, Abyan and Hadramout requested he include pensioners from those areas within the Wage Law's new salary strategy.

“Nearly two years have passed since July 7, 2005, when pensioners whose salaries are less than YR 15,978 deserved increases to become equal to the minimum salary of pensioners decided in the new strategy,” the letter stated.

The pensioners also asked the prime minister to grant them their entitlements retroactively, beginning from July 1, 2006, as is the case with all state employees, in addition to raising the minimum salary of pensioners to YR 20,000 (approximately $100).

The chairman of the pensioners association pointed out that the group sent lists of pensioners from Aden, Abyan and Hadramout to the Ministry of Civil Service and Insurance, which referred them to the Finance Ministry.

Many observers stress the importance of managing price hikes by increasing pensioners' salaries, noting that Article 63 of the Pension Law states that pensioners should receive 50 percent of any salary increase granted to those in service.

Although the law's second clause of Article 77 was implemented correctly, pensioners didn't receive their due increases, despite the fact that prices have increased 10 times since the Pension Law was issued.

In his research published by Al-Ayyam daily newspaper, former U.N. expert Mohammed Basharahil hints that Civil Service Minister Hamoud Al-Soufi is responsible for observing price increases and reporting the matter to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

He suggests establishing an economic department at the Civil Service Ministry whose main tasks would be to observe price increases and their effect on citizens' lives, especially when such increases exceed five percent.

Basharahil pointed out that although the minimum wage was set at YR 20,000 in the 2005 Wages and Salary Law, prices so far have increased 35 percent. He maintains that after two years, Yemeni minimum wage actually should be no less than YR 100,000 after two years.

He adds that if there's no mechanism to implement appropriate laws, poverty among pensioners will increase.