A Stride Towards Dissolving Conflict over Paying Yemen's Public Employees' Salaries

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-09-14 09:49 AM UTC


The Ansar Allah (Houthi) group has begun dropping some of its demands in line with the continued international and regional peace efforts to end the conflict in Yemen. On Wednesday, a Houthi official said the Sanaa government handed over the 2014 list of Yemen's government employees. The official did not clarify to whom the list was submitted.

However, it can be understood that the list has been presented to Oman or the United Nations, which have been pushing the parties to the conflict in Yemen to agree on ending the war and addressing the humanitarian tragedies in Yemen, including the unpaid salaries of public employees.

Since 2016, government employees in Houthi-controlled areas have not received salaries. The Houthi authorities have been saying the Yemeni government is dominating the gas and oil resources, arguing that it is responsible for paying the salaries.

The Assistant Undersecretary for the General Budget Sector at the Sanaa-based Ministry of Finance, Abdul Jalil Al-Dar, spoke to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel, saying, "We handed over the employees list according to the 2014 database to block the way for other forces that continue cutting salaries under many pretexts."

In this statement, he hints at the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which have expressed willingness to pay the public employees' salaries who were employed before the Houthi takeover of power.

Previously, the Houthi group had insisted that all employees' salaries before and after 2015 should be paid. That condition has caused a massive ordeal for thousands of public employees. Now, the Houthi consent to submit the 2014 database of public employees has brought a sign of hope.

Abdulla Ali, a school teacher in Sanaa, said the Houthi agreement to hand over the list of pre-2015 government employees is a hopeful development. "It indicates our ordeal is nearing an end, and the two sides have forged a deal on paying our salaries. We are waiting for the deal implementation."

He told Sheba Intelligence, "We have been the victims since the stoppage of our salaries in 2016. And the warring sides should agree to end the injustice we have endured over the last seven years."

Ali is one of over 170000 school teachers who have not received their salaries in provinces under the Houthi control. Despite the diverse sources of the Houthi revenues, the group has refused to pay public employees their wages. According to a report by the U.N. Panel of Experts, the total value of tax and other revenues collected by the Houthis in 2019 amounted to over $1.8 billion.

Ali concluded, "No matter how much money the Houthi group makes, the group will devote all funds to military purposes. We only pin hope on the Yemeni government to pay our salaries."