Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Business Calls Yemen's Politicians to End Turmoil

Business Calls Yemen's Politicians to End Turmoil

By Abdul-Aziz Oudah

Sana'a- Feb 22, 2011- The private sector has called on all Yemen’s political parties to resort to reason as a means to resolve the current crisis and to ensure that the business fraternity is not dragged into turmoil.

Business leaders have also said that they want to remain neutral at a time when protesters for and against the government have become embroiled in bloody street battles. Hassan al-Kabos, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry which is based in Sana’a, stressed at a general assembly meeting the necessity of the private sector’s effective contribution to the country’s stability and the role it played to eliminate all sorts of corruption.

Al-Kabos said that business leaders were holding meetings to determine the private sector’s vision for overcoming the current political turmoil.

Mohamed Salah, deputy chairman at the chamber, said that 400 shops in the area between Sana’a University and Al-Tahrir Square in the capital suffered losses totaling nearly YR70-million in the last week because of political demonstrations.

A number of owners of these shops and banks in Sana'a and Aden said that they were forced to close their shops for fear of theft or vandalism. Some even considered closing their shops if demonstrations continued because they were paying rentals between US$300 and US$500 per month while not earning any money.

Shop owners at the chamber›s meeting called for action and deadlines on how to resolve the political crisis. They asked the chamber to take legal action or constitutional measures to protest their business rights. Businessman Ali Saleh al-Ashwal revealed that tax officials had illegally taken from him YR230-million three years ago and that he was still following up on this matter.

He said that they had offered to give him YR28-million but he refused. Businessman Sheikh Saleh Al-Athla meanwhile called for the formation of a neutral committee to hold accountable tax evaders. Participants also called for a meeting with President Ali Abdullah Saleh to discuss the demands and grievances of the private sector.

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