Yemen government eyes budget as famine looms

November 7, 2018
Government to boost tax collection at ports

Aden: Yemen’s government ordered tighter tax collection at ports under its control on Tuesday as it began preparing its 2019 budget.

The government had approved just one formal budget since rebels overran the capital Sana’a in 2014, seizing most of the rest of the country and forcing President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

After a meeting in its interim headquarters in second city Aden late on Monday, the government announced the formation of a committee to draw up a 2019 budget, which is again expected to run a huge deficit.

This year’s budget, approved in January, projected a deficit of $1.3 billion. There has been no official update since then on the state of the government’s finances but the actual deficit is expected to be far higher.

The value of the Yemeni rial has dived more than 36 per cent since the start of the year, despite a $2 billion deposit in the central bank by Saudi Arabia aimed at shoring it up.

The rial has now lost two-thirds of its value since 2015.

The government levies taxes and duties totalling 10 per cent on goods entering areas under its control but the war has made collection uneven.

The cabinet approved measures to improve collection “on all taxable imports at all land, sea and air ports in liberated areas,” the government-run Saba news agency reported on Tuesday.