Tahrir Square Businesses Denounce Protests

The General Assembly of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sana’a called to end the damage to their traders in al-Tahrir square as a result of  interruptions of business due to the gatherings there, and demanded compensation for their losses.

They also demanded in their expanded meeting held in Sana’a of all the concerned parties for an immediate cessation of their persecution of intellectual leaders of the private sector because of their strong positions in demanding the rights of the private sector.

They requested the concerned authorities to withdraw the case against Mohammed Abdo Saeed Anam, President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sana’a, Hasan al-Kabous.

The assembly confirmed its common cause with private sector leaders and their full, lasting solidarity with them.

“It was proven to us that we have been mistreated, and that these events are a violation of the understanding prevailing between the private sector and official partners towards the development and renaissance of the country” explain that it was the reason behind their decision to bring about the end to the continued suffering of the private sectors in various parts of Yemen.” assembly members added.

They also demanded to put an end to the repeated extortion of the private sector in port and city entrances  under the pretense of  fees when customs duties are already paid in advance fully.

The assembly members, who confirmed that the private sectors were not included in the meeting with civil society organizations held with the President of the Republic, pointed that they have produced a letter to the President urging him to reconsider mechanisms for applying the sales tax law, appointing customs ports to tax collection according to the law and the constitutional provisions, and to hold tax-evaders accountable for their deeds.

The private sector gathering also called for reason and dialogue as a way out to resolve the crisis. Asserting at the same time  the full neutrality of the private sector in the course of events facing the country.

Al-Kabous confirmed in the assembly meeting that twice the amount of the necessary taxes are taken from 70% percent of traders.

“The meeting was for the sake of determining the demands of the private sector and stressed the readiness to pay  taxes, especially in ports, with regard to levies of various transactions, such as opening a shop, and paying fees for advertising,” confirmed al-Kabous.

Other traders demanded the implementation of the demands according to a specific time period, adding, “The Chamber will take the legal and constitutional procedures necessary to take their rights.” If not they will start to strike peacefully, close shops, and stop imports. Some even demanded the filing of a lawsuit against the president of the internal revenue service.

Businessman Ali Saleh Al-Ashwal mentioned that some traders were assaulted by the central security in the peaceful protests last week in Sana’a, stressing his belief that the aggressors must be brought to justice.

He also added that the tax authorities have taken YR 230 million illegally from him and he had followed up the case for three years, after which they offered to give him YR 28 million, but he refused.

Another businessman, Sheikh Ali Saleh al-Athalah demanded to form a neutral committee to hold accountable merchants who were either corrupt, or avoided taxes.