Analysts: Ten people control 80% of Yemen’s economic activity

National Yemen

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By NY staff

Economic expert Dr. Ahmed al-Reefi says that high prices will reduce consumer buying, leading to a higher rate of poverty in Yemen. He explained that according to some researchers, there are ten groups represented by ten families  control 80% of Yemen’s imports, industrial activity, oil distribution, communications, and the banking sector. This causes the suffer of Yemeni market from supply crises and unstable prices.

Dr. al-Reefi says that Yemen economy challenges starts from infrastructural problems, low investment, and many industries being monopolized, which hurts production. He also said  that the lack of transparency and good governance makes Yemen an unattractive environment for international investment, in addition to security problems. He argues that the Yemeni government must confront these issues and attract investment.

Economic analyst Hamoud al-Bukhaiti disagrees, saying that high prices in the Yemeni market is a result of an absent government, both in a legislative and supervisory capacity. Yemen’s ascension to the World Trade Organization also limited its executive abilities to protect consumers and the national economy.

Al-Bukhaiti did agree on the point of goods being monopolized, saying that anyone who attempts to enter the market has to deal with harassment. The result is no competition, except when it concerns forces from abroad. He is also skeptical about current export policies.

“Selling grain has, in the past, led to a depletion in food stocks, and Yemenis being forced to buy from others.”

Al-Bukhaiti says that there must be more central economic planning, funding for adjustments, and a comprehensive criteria for how prices will be set in addition to how they are supervised. Otherwise, Yemen will experience serious hardship in the long term.

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