The file of employee salaries in the Houthi areas between the truth, extortion and obstacles to implementation

English - الأربعاء 21 سبتمبر 2022 الساعة 05:44 م
Aden, NewsYemen, special:

 With the approach to extending the armistice on the first of next October, moves and meetings are increasing by the United Nations and US envoys to Yemen to conclude an agreement to extend the armistice extending to 6 months instead of two months, as has been the case since last April.

This international and international desire collides with the intransigence of the Houthi group, which refuses to implement its obligations under the armistice agreement six months after its declaration.  In addition to putting forth additional conditions in exchange for accepting a long-term extension of the armistice, and on top of these conditions that the group puts forward is the regular payment of salaries to employees in areas of its control, from the government in Aden.

The group is trying to outright bid for this file by considering it a humanitarian item for the benefit of the people and not a political demand for it, wich apparently seems to be echoed by the international community, which is pressing in this direction in line with what Al-Houthi is proposing, according to the statement issued last Thursday by the US State Department, about the recent meetings of the US envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking.

The statement said that Lenderking "found support from all of his counterparts in the region for an extended armistice agreement," noting that the truce would include paying civil servants' salaries, improving freedom of movement by opening roads, transporting fuel quickly through ports, and expanding commercial flights from Sanaa airport.

The American and international identification with Al-Houthi’s proposal regarding the salary file is one of the concessions required by the Presidential Council for the sake of peace, without looking at the details and the truth of this file, which reveals the extent of lies and misinformation practiced by Al-Houthi, and even to the extent of the complexities and difficulties facing this file, most of which are made by Al-Houthi.

During the past few days, former government minister Raafat Al-Akhali shed light on this file with posts on his Facebook page based on the numbers and data of 2014, before the Houthi coup, which indicates the total number of employees in the state’s administrative apparatus at about 477 thousand, while the number of members of the two institutions of the army  and security to about 650,000, and this category is currently out of discussion.

The discussion revolves around the salaries of civil servants according to the 2014 statements, which amount to 547 billion Yemeni riyals, or 45 billion riyals per month, excluding the salaries of the army and security, 430 billion, and given the fact that the government in Aden regularly pays the salaries of employees in the liberated areas, who Al-Akhali estimates at about 223,000 employees, or about  47% of the total employees in the administrative apparatus of the state, without calculating the salaries of displaced employees.

Which makes the estimate of the total salaries of employees in Houthi-controlled areas at about 22 billion riyals per month, which prompted the government in Aden to declare that the revenues of Hodeidah port from taxes and customs on oil derivative ships are sufficient to cover these salaries, as it said that they reached within four months of the truce from April to August 105 billion, at a rate of about 26 billion riyals per month

The government’s speech recalls Sweden’s agreement that halted the battle for its liberation in 2018, which stipulated in one of its clauses that the revenues of its port go to a special account in the central bank branch in the city and be allocated to pay the salaries of employees, which the Houthi group violated by looting the sums collected in the account, according to a confession by the former envoy Griffith.

The Houthi group claims that the port’s revenues are insufficient to pay the salaries of employees in its areas of control. In return, it raises the idea of limiting oil and gas revenues produced from the liberated governorates to a special account to pay the salaries of employees in all governorates of the republic under the supervision of the United Nations.

According to media reports, the Iranian arm raised this during meetings in Muscat, on the condition that the salaries of employees in its areas of control be transferred in hard currency to prevent any talk from the government in Aden about the necessity of forcing the group to stop preventing dealing with the new currency in its areas of control, which is one of the most important obstacles that stand in front of any agreement on the file of salaries.

The monetary division and the currency exchange difference between Sanaa and Aden is not the only challenge in this difficult file.  Talking about the disbursement of salaries according to the 2014 payroll, that is, after 8 years, it includes numbers of the deceased, those who reached the retirement age, and those forced by the war to flee outside Yemen, and they were replaced by the Houthi militia.  

In addition to those have been replaced for political reasons, some of whom have become displaced employees receiving their salaries from the government in Aden, which raises a question about all of this.