• Sanaa

  • Friday, April 12, 2024 at 10:07 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 5:30 AM

Sanaa Markets Face Recession Due to Houthi Restrictions on Goods

(AWP) - Yemeni shop owner Mohammed al-Daeis used to sell larger quantities of sweets and nuts during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr season before his business was hit by recession this year as a result of the restrictions on goods put in place by the Houthi group.

At his shop in the capital Sanaa, he said, “Commercial activity has slowed down, and sales of Eid goods have decreased because customers have no liquidity, income is non-existent, markets are stagnant, and goods are frozen.”

He added, “We used to sell items worth 20,000 or 30,000 [Yemeni] riyals per client. Now the best we can do is 3000, 4000 or 5000 to the person who can afford it, but some people come and don’t have any money. There are more beggars than buyers.”

Last month, the Houthi-affiliated Ministry of Finance issued a 100% raise on customs duty on goods coming from areas controlled by the internationally recognised Yemeni government.

Additionally, the Ministry adopted a new mechanism to collect taxes on all imported goods at land customs ports and deposit them in cash from the total customs value.

Abdul Majeed Mahyoub is another trader complaining of stagnation and the decline in market activity, which is leading to the accumulation of unsold goods.

Mahyoub said from his perfumery in Sanaa, “We, as merchants on Ha’il Street, suffer from the stagnation of the markets and delayed sales. Some goods have not been sold for over a year to two years due to market stagnation. We have not seen the demand of previous years and sales have decreased.”

Several Yemeni press reports indicate that the new Houthi policies have resulted in an increase in the prices of most imported food commodities by more than 70%, prompting human rights organisations to demand the abolition of these measures considering people’s deteriorating living conditions.

While no official records are available for traders and companies that went bankrupt in Sanaa due to economic conditions, the number of Yemenis who have lost their livelihoods due to the war has significantly risen over the past 10 years.

Saleh Nasser Al-Ansi, who owns a clothing store in Sanaa, said, “Of course, the situation has become such that there is a significant decline from previous years because of the war and because of the previous circumstances with the non-payment of salaries and the poor conditions. The first year was very different. This year we did not see any turnout [customers] or any response from the citizens to a very large extent.”