Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has sacked Prime Minister Ahmed Bin Dagher, accusing him of “negligence” in running the country, Saba news agency has reported.
The Yemeni premier has ordered for Bin Dagher to be investigated in connection to the country’s economic woes, citing his “inability to take real measures to stop the economic deterioration in the country, especially the collapse of the currency”.
The Yemeni riyal has lost more than two-thirds of its value against the dollar since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government’s fight against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Authorities sought to boost liquidity last year by printing money when it stood at around 250 to the dollar, but it has now plunged in value to about 700 riyals to the dollar.
Last month, several Yemeni cities witnessed demonstrations over the high cost of living, including in the southern capital Aden, the temporary headquarters of the internationally recognised government. Protesters blocked major roads and chanted anti-government slogans, with images posted on social media showing thick plumes of smoke from burning tyres.
By the evening, the government had ordered a temporary halt on imports of luxury goods like automobiles and a 30 per cent salary increase for public-sector employees, including pensioners and contractors, in an attempt to stem the protests.
President Hadi also called the prime minister to account out over his “failure” to take necessary measures to respond to a “catastrophic” tropical storm that hit eastern Yemen over the weekend, devastating infrastructure in the Mahra province.
However, Bin Dagher has also been at odds with the southern separatists and their main backer, the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting the Houthis. Whilst the coalition entered the war in 2015 to reinstate the UN-backed President Hadi, in recent months the UAE has been found to be backing the Southern Transitional Council in an effort to split Yemen in to two countries, North and South, contrary to the objectives of the coalition.
Hadi has confirmed that Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, the former minister of public works and roads, will replace Bin Dagher. Yemeni political sources told reporters that Saeed is known to have “excellent” relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Yemen, one of the poorest Arab nations, has suffered further since the start of the war in 2015. Three-quarters of its population, some 22 million people, require aid, with 13 million reportedly on the brink of starvation. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed and more than 56,000 injured, with the UN deeming it one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.