Yemen is in advanced talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a $500mn loan, IMF Middle East Director Masood Ahmed says. But, speaking on 21 May, he called on San’a to first agree on its economic program, before the IMF can finalize discussions. While the government needs IMF aid, it is concerned that approval of a facility would lead to further austerity measures, such as the reduction of subsidies on oil products. The IMF resumed lending to Yemen in April 2012 with the approval of a $94mn loan.

Repeated attacks on the country’s oil and gas infrastructure since mid-2011 have blown a hole in Yemen’s key revenue stream. Finance Minister Sakhr al-Wajih estimates losses from armed attacks on key oil and gas facilities in the Marib region at more than YR101bn ($468mn). Mr Wajih urged donor countries to establish a special fund to support the budget and revealed that that the Arab Monetary Fund had agreed to raise its aid program to Yemen to $560mn from $460mn. Planning and International Cooperation Minister Muhammad al-Sa’di says 75% of the $7.9bn aid pledged to Yemen by Gulf Arab states and western governments at donor conferences last year has been assigned to projects. But much of this cash has yet to reach Yemen. (CONTINUED - 298 WORDS)