Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yemen creates fund to employ university graduates

Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam

Yemen's president, facing protests calling for his ouster, has ordered the creation of a fund to employ university graduates and extend social security coverage, the official Saba news agency reported.

The fund proposed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh would permit the hiring this year of 25 percent of university graduates facing unemployment, and the remainder in the future, Saba said late Monday.

Unemployment was one of the key issues in protests that led to the fall earlier this month of Tunisia's president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Saba did not specify the budget allocated to the fund, or how the graduates would be employed.

Civil society organisations have called for a "Day of Rage" on Thursday in Yemen, where protests demanding Saleh's ouster have multiplied since Ben Ali's mid-January departure from Tunisia.

Facing this movement, Saleh also decided to exempt university students from the rest of their tuition fees for this academic year, and charged the high council of universities to reduce the cost of a degree, Saba said.

Saleh also directed that "social security services be extended to 500,000 more people from needy families," Saba said.

Members of Yemen's elected chamber of deputies and its appointed Majlis Ash-Shura, or consultative council, have been summoned to meet on Wednesday ahead of the "Day of Rage" to debate national questions, an official said on Monday.

And a governing body of Saleh's General People's Congress party recently called for a resumption of dialogue with opposition parties, which are currently at an impasse.

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, faces a growing Al-Qaeda threat, a secessionist movement in the south, and a sporadic revolt by Zaidi Shias in the north.

Source: http://bit.ly/gA5TWD

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