Trade union report says it’s time to re-evaluate economic reformWorld Bank policies maybe hurting Yemen? [Archives:2003/685/Business & Economy]

November 13 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Yemen’s economic reforms that have come from policy slated by the World Bank for the past eight years have hurt the country just as much as helped it, according to a study by a committee from trade unions.
The report says while job opportunities have been provided by some projects, the privatization of public institutions has also led to higher unemployment.
The study notes that unemployment in Yemen has risen from 25% in 1995 to around 37% in 2003.
Yemen’s economic reforms have been associated with setting up a strategy for the alleviation of poverty, they’ve actually created a social imbalance, and the study says that more than 34% of the population is now under the line of poverty.
The study has also affirmed that the real values of wages have retreated to just one-quarter of their value in 1990, and as a result the middle class has suffered, and the rate of variance between the rich class and majority of the poor is now deeper.
The study indicated that 20 per cent of the population possesses 49 per cent of the volume of the social gross domestic product, and 20 per cent of the poor possesses six per cent of the social gross domestic product.
The study pointed out that policies of the WB have resulted in economic recession in a manner that makes it hard to move towards recovery.
The study has also drawn the attention to administrative reforms in Yemen, supported by the WB, which focus on lowering of the work force in the administrative and economic sectors of the state, without paying attention and taking into account to the efficiency, performance, productivity and criteria and specifications for occupying jobs.
The study recommended the necessity of directing some of the loans of the WB to financing projects of vocational training and continued education and also the need to deal with poverty and unemployment.
The recommendations also have urged the giving of the labour market and the labour force the biggest attention through providing job opportunities for the youth and development of woman’s capabilities and incorporating her with labour.
The recommendations also called for the reforming of the educational system, attracting more investment and activating the banks’ role for encouraging savings and directing them towards development.
The study called for drawing up a new policy for giving loans to projects, including small ones, in order to lessen challenges of need and poverty in the country.
The study concluded that the WB policies need to be reconsidered, as they are not helping with unemployment or poverty reduction.