Yemen vows public sector pay increase to ease civil strife

5 Sep 18

The exiled Yemeni government has pledged to raise the salaries of public sector employees after hundreds of people protested against the rising cost of living.

This follows a year where the government has been unable to pay public employees in the war-torn country amid a currency crisis.

On Sunday at a cabinet meeting in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, the government approved “an increase in civil sector salaries, including retirees and contractors,” Yemen’s state-run Saba news agency said. It is not clear when the raise will take effect. 

The meeting came after hundreds of people protested in the southern province of Aden, calling for the government to help the Yemenis struggling to survive amid the conflict.

It was chaired by president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who was driven from the capital city Sanaa by Houthi rebels in 2015.

Yemen’s riyal currency has lost more than two-thirds of its value against the dollar since then. Saudi Arabia and its allies have since joined the exiled government’s fight against the rebels.

The economic downturn and a blockade on rebel-held international airport and ports has left Yemenis unable to afford food staples and bottled water and made it harder for aid supplies to get into the country.

The UN has said the situation in Yemen is the world’s largest single humanitarian crisis with 8.4 million people at risk of famine.

In 2016, more than one million civil servants lost their jobs as Hadi moved the official central bank from Sanaa to Aden, which now serves as the government’s base.

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