Yemen's Central Bank Governor: Griffiths Document Incompatible with Our Independence, Laws

Yemen's Central Bank Governor: Griffiths Document Incompatible with Our Independence, Laws

Sunday, 11 November, 2018 - 13:30
Governor of the Central Bank of Yemen Mohammed Zammam - AAWSAT AR.
London - Badr al-Qahtani
Breaking nine months of silence, Governor of the Central Bank of Yemen Mohammed Zammam stated that the Bank of England surprised the Yemeni central bank with the political conditions it had set in order to reopen Yemen's frozen account.

The governor, who occupied his position mid-Feb 2018, criticized in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper the United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, who expressed his disinterest in the economic matter since his efforts fall under the political work.

Zammam said that Griffiths team handed the Central Bank of Yemen a document that is incompatible with the bank’s independence and laws. He added that the UK, unfortunately, is keen to assist Yemen but is also banning the central bank from using its funds.

Responding to a question on the current banking system and challenges faced, he said that the Yemeni banking sector is not a huge one as it includes 17 banks out of which some are Islamic, commercial or are branches of Arab and non-Arab banks. His assessment of the sector was good, noting that it's still surviving, serving people and facilitating commerce.

Zammam said that there are great challenges, on top of them is to keep business going amid the complicated conditions, war and the difficulty of transportation between provinces, especially that banks need to enjoy ease of movement.

The newspaper asked the governor about the changes that have occurred since he took his position, his reply was that he is trying to rebuild the confidence of Yemenis in the banking sector in general and in the central bank in specific. Zammam added that the monetary cycle was restored gradually to banks as well as the confidence of the community in the banking sector through a chain of decisions, such as surging sufficient amount of funds to banks and the central bank and abstaining from directly dispersing funds to clients.

Talking about the challenges facing the banking sector, he said that there are several difficulties, but the greatest one is surviving and carrying on business, as well as maintaining the monetary cycle at its minimum level.

Zammam pointed out that the central bank faces these challenges with the sector because it is responsible for all banks.

The newspaper asked about the procedures taken to benefit from the latest Saudi grant of USD200 million, the answer was that the grant will be allocated to cover the credits of the essential material of citizens such as medicines and a part of it will be used to pay off some delinquent loans.

Regarding the central bank’s relationship with international organizations and the UN, the governor described the ties with international organizations (financial and economic ones such as the International Monetary Fund) as unique in the current time.

As for the UN institutions, Zammam expressed gratitude but had two demands: the first is to purchase the material to be distributed from local markets as it could boost the private sector and open new job vacancies, and the second is to revise the organizations’ procedures regarding fluxing foreign currency through the central bank or under its supervision, which could protect the purchasing power of the Yemeni riyal.

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