Whether in times of peace, war, or crises, the Yemeni private sector remains the main lifeline to millions of Yemenis. The private sector’s tireless efforts to deliver goods and services continued throughout the protracted years of war despite the difficult challenges. Throughout the war’s devastation and destruction, bright moments were created through private sector led humanitarian relief initiatives, not to mention its continued employment of a workforce amounting to millions, which supports the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families across Yemen.
As with other segments of society, the private sector has been experiencing its own share of suffering. The private sector suffers on daily basis because of the continuous fall of the national currency, difficulties faced in transporting supplies and goods, being extorted to pay illegal fees and levies, the violations committed against its workforce that include limitations on freedom of movement, acts of harassment and blackmail.
The Yemeni private sector, represented by The Economic Reform Team (ERT), affirms that a just and comprehensive peace is an imperative need for all Yemenis and represents the only way forward to end the injustices against, and suffering of, the Yemeni people. The ERT calls on all national forces to exert all possible means and efforts towards peace and prevent further suffering.
The humanitarian truce of several months ago represented an opportunity for reviving hope that the war would come to an end, that peace would be established, and that a path towards a return to normalization is possible. This glimpse of hope reflected positively on the economy with the relative stability of the currency and prices of goods in markets. However, the stalled negotiations and current escalation across the country threatens catastrophic economic and humanitarian repercussions that will directly impact communities’ livelihoods and the cost of which will be shouldered by average Yemeni citizens.
To avoid further suffering and restore hope the ERT reaffirms the following vital imperatives:
- Expediting the reopening of all airports and seaports to facilitate the movement of Yemenis to and from Yemen, which is a basic right guaranteed by the Yemeni constitution, local laws, and international charters. This is also an important enabling factor for improving the economic and humanitarian condition in Yemen.
- Lifting all restrictions imposed on the transportation of goods and commodities to Yemen, rescinding the prohibition of specific goods from entering Yemen, and returning to pre-war importing regulations and procedures.
- Expediting open access to the main roads between cities for civilians and facilitating the transportation of supplies and goods between all cities without restrictions. The urgent need for free access of movement of people and goods between cities is critical for vital humanitarian relief necessitated by the dire economic conditions faced by Yemeni citizens.
- Abolishing all forms of extortion and illegal fees imposed on the transportation of goods and supplies within cities and between governorates and ensuring that only legal fees stipulated by the relevant laws are upheld.
- Unifying the monetary policy and formulating appropriate mechanisms and means to prevent the national currency’s collapse; mitigating the catastrophic repercussions of inflation; seizing to print any new banknotes to subsidize spending.
- Mobilizing and developing national resources to boost the country’s foreign currency reserves given its critical function in financing essential goods’ imports and enhancing economic stability and development.
- Ending harassment, extortion, and all illegal practices against the private sector’s workforce, as they serve a critical national and humanitarian role. The private sector’s workforce must be supported to continue to deliver goods and services to alleviate the devastating effects of the war and deteriorating humanitarian condition.
- The private sector reasserts its impartiality and staunchly refuses any attempts by any party to coerce its involvement in the conflict. The private sector strives diligently to deliver goods and services to all Yemenis in the most difficult conditions across the country and works with all segments of Yemeni society.
- The Yemeni private sector calls on all Yemeni parties to prioritize national interest and strive for peace through diligent and practical steps that are grounded in dialogue and partnership to achieve objectives that will serve Yemeni society and end its perpetual suffering that it has been experiencing throughout the war.
- The Yemeni private sector holds responsible the regional and international parties involved, as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Yemen, and other international envoys, for the lethargic efforts in supporting serious steps towards peace. Effective steps must be taken to alleviate the unbearable humanitarian suffering, first and foremost, and to safeguard the remanence of economic and investment activity in the country.
The Economic Reform Team (ERT) is a voluntary initiative by a group of distinguished members of the Yemeni private sector and economic experts. The ERT enables the Yemeni private sector to contribute in a unified and effective manner to decision-making and the development of policies, objectives, and strategies that enhances economic reform and development in Yemen.