The Yemenia Airlines crisis with the Houthi militia reflects the inability of legitimacy to control the banking sector

English - Tuesday 03 October 2023 الساعة 05:59 pm
Mokha, NewsYemen, exclusive:

 The recent crisis caused by the Houthi militia, Iran's arm in Yemen, with the Yemeni Airlines Company, has brought to mind the continuing inability of the legitimacy to impose its control over the banking sector and manage the economic file in Yemen.

 On Saturday, the company announced that it would stop operating the only flights from Sanaa Airport, which is under the control of the militias, to the Jordanian capital, Amman, due to the restrictions imposed by the militias since last March on the company’s financial accounts and balances in Sanaa, which exceeded $80 million.

The company said, in a statement, that the Houthi militia recently banned the withdrawal of the Yemeni Company from its financial balances in Sanaa banks, noting that this caused severe damage to its activity, and that it faced many challenges and difficulties, to which the group responded as a false and pure slander claim.

The Houthi group, in the words of a source in the Ministry of Transport in its government, responded to these accusations by saying that all salaries and benefits of employees in the company will be disbursed from the company’s balances in Sana’a, which amount to two million dollars per month and that during the previous period, approximately 36 million dollars were disbursed from these balances to confront operating expenses during the previous period.

These Houthi allegations were undermined by a confession issued by the group’s leader, Hussein Al-Ezzi, in his tweets on the “X” platform, in which he acknowledged that his group had stopped withdrawing large sums from the company’s balances to prevent corruption, saying that insisting on the former regime’s role in withdrawing is unacceptable to his group, except that he later deleted these tweets.

The government, for its part, merely condemned, through the words of its Minister of Information, Muammar Al-Eryani, the Houthi group’s seizure of a Yemeni airline plane at Sana’a Airport in response to the company’s suspension of its flights from the airport, calling on the government’s behalf to the international community, the United Nations, and its special envoy to pressure the Houthi militia to release the detained plane and lift the ban imposed on  Company balances.

The Houthi militia’s restrictions on the balances of the Yemenia Company had previously been raised during the recent period, as the company’s commercial director, Mohsen Haidara, complained, in a television interview last August, about the militias’ control of the company’s balances in commercial banks, justifying this by saying that 60% of ticket sales  The company comes from militia-controlled areas, pointing out that the company's sales exceeded $100 million last year.

The militias' ability to control the company's assets is due to their continued control over the most important and most commercial banks operating in Yemen through their main administration in Sana'a, and the failure of legitimacy since the beginning of the war to force them to transfer their administrations to the capital, Aden, where these banks are still completely subject to all orders issued.  From the Central Bank in Sanaa, affiliated with the Houthi group.

 A failure that comes within a scene of a general failure in the legitimacy’s management of the economic file and the activation of the most important tools of power to impose its control over this file, which is the Central Bank of Yemen since its management was transferred to Aden in late 2016, which produced a financial and banking division and a varying price of the local currency between the militia-controlled areas and the liberated areas.

The lack of legitimacy in the banking file is one of the most important reasons for the deterioration of the local currency in the liberated areas as a result of its inability to control the most important hard currency resources for the benefit of the militias, which are remittances from expatriates and relief funds and humanitarian aid, which last year amounted to about 7.7 billion dollars, as the process of transferring these funds is still taking place outside the control of the Central Bank in Aden and through commercial banks under the control of the Houthi group.