Political Analysis

Yemen parliament approves 2014 budget

Yemen’s parliament approved the country’s 2014 budget on Saturday raising spending by around 4 percent to 2.88 trillion Yemeni Rials ($13.4 billion) from the 2013 budget plan, state news agency SABA reported.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation came close to economic collapse after a popular uprising in 2011 forced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The cabinet had approved a draft of the budget on Dec. 26.

Estimated revenue for 2014 is around 2.20 trillion rials, up about 6 percent from 2013, SABA reported. The budget projects a deficit of around 679 billion rials that compares with a deficit of 682 billion rials envisaged in the original 2013 budget. Yemen’s finances are still being strained by frequent attacks on oil pipelines by disgruntled tribesmen. Crude exports provide up to 70 percent of government budget income.

Lawmakers stressed the key challenge for the government would be to bring back security to the country in order to step up economic development. Economic recovery in Yemen, the second-poorest Arab state after Mauritania where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, has accelerated this year.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth of 6.0 percent in 2013 against 2.4 percent last year; in 2011, when unrest gripped the country, the economy shrank 12.7 percent. (Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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