Yemenis celebrate Eid Al-Adha among difficult economic situation and political tension

Published on 1 September 2017 in News
Yasser Rayes (author)

Yasser Rayes


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A man, in Tahrir Squre, selling walnuts, peanuts, almonds, sweets and candy all of which are served for guests during Eid periods. (Photo by Yasser Rayes)

A man, in Tahrir Squre, selling walnuts, peanuts, almonds, sweets and candy all of which are served for guests during Eid periods. (Photo by Yasser Rayes)

Eid Al-Adha is a religious occasion for Muslims in which they sacrifice animals in the first day of Eid. It is also a tradition to buy new clothes, sweets and nuts, however, most Yemenis will not be able to do so this year due to the fact that most of them have not received their public sector salaries since August of 2016. 

People have suffered a lot due to not receiving their salaries. Most Yemenis living in major cities relied solely on salaries that come from the government, when these salaries stopped people lost everything and started selling furniture, gold and anything that was worth selling to make ends meet. They also started doing various jobs such as driving taxies, working in groceries shops or driving motorbike-taxies.

President Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi, head of the internationally recognized cabinet refused to pay the salaries saying that they do not receive the all country's earnings and income and thus they will not pay the public sector's salaries, at least not in the northern parts of the country where the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are in control.  

To resolve this problem, the Supreme Political Council, [the de facto authority in Sanaa comprised from Houthis and Saleh-loyal leaders] made a deal with a prominent business man to give people commodities such as flour, sugar, cooking oil etc. in exchange for 50% of their salary which is a fairly complicated process since people are forced to buy from certain brands, certain supermarkets and for prices above average.

In the meantime, prices of everyday goods such as yoghurt, ghee, and bread keep rising steadily due to several factors most importantly exchange rates fluctuation. 

In this month, the de facto authority in Sana'a gave some of the public sector employees only 50% of their salaries to help them out during the Eid period, even though that is not nearly enough, it is better than nothing, since "nothing" was the only thing they received for a period close to 10 months.