The Studies and Economic Media Center ( SEMC) has demanded that a package of economic policies be set out to limit the negative fallout of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus ( COVID-19). It further urged that a Joint crisis team to oversee the implementation of such policies be forged jointly by Sana’a and Aden authorities.
Thd center called upon all conflict parties in the country to instantly halt fighting and to instead join forces to combat the virus, especially as Yemen faces a particularly real risk given the fragility of its healthcare system and the worsening living and humanitarian conditions it is still experiencing due to five years of war.
It stressed the necessity of an economic panel to be jointly set up by both Sana’a and Aden authorities, and in partnership with the private sector, local NGOs and concerned international organizations with an aim to work together towards tackling the crisis fueled by the pandemic.
It further stressed the need for taking a set of essentially urgent decisions, most crucial of which is the reversal of the decision banning the use of newly issued banknotes, as well as the allocation of financial provisions for citizens affected by the epidemic, mainly those expected to be placed under quarantine.
It’s imperative that the central bank pump cash in both dollars and Yemeni riyals into local banks to ensure sustained and smooth flow of food and medical supplies, the center affirmed, adding that it is also highly important that all tax and customs duties on basic goods and services be temporarily revoked, and oversight over commodities tightened to ensure that they meet quality and specifications standards.
It also called for paying out salaries of civil servants, and coordinating with all regional and international bodies to hammer out an effective mechanism for assisting crisis-hit big companies and medium and small size businesses.
SEMC urged the government to ease the smooth inflow of goods and products into the country, including by boosting the efficiency of Yemeni sea ports to guard against supply congestion. It called upon all conflicting parties to repeal all tax and customs fees imposed on basic commodities at key entry points and security checkposts, and to facilitate the movement of such merchandises.
The economic and media outfit appealed for big business to shoulder its responsibility for handling the crisis by helping citizens acess basic supplies at the most minimally cost possible, as well as by paying regard to maximum safety measures and highest quality standards, and following closely all pertinent instructions ensuring people’s full protection against this highly risky viral infection.
SEMC is a non-profit civil society organization promoting a successful and transparent economic system through training and raising the citizens’ awareness of economic issues, and enhancing transparency and citizen participation in decision-making. It promotes professional media and economic empowerment of youth and women and enhancing their role in peacebuilding.