The Aden-based Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) on Wednesday vowed to take strict actions, including blacklisting and preventing from importation, against oil suppliers and traders violating the predetermined mechanism applicable to fuel importation.
Exchange mechanism is still in place to provide all oil suppliers with foreign moneys, the CBY said on Facebook, calling on all suppliers to sell derivatives in Yemeni rial and deposit all resultant sums into their accounts at Yemen-based commercial banks chosen by suppliers.
The Bank will provide hard moneys under the applicable mechanism, it said, threatening to blacklist noncompliant suppliers, deny them renewed permissions for access and unload at seaports, and prevent them from future importations.
Last July, the CBY set exchange rate for goods imports at the rate of 506 rials for one dollar (excepting for essential supplies covered by the Saudi deposit, for which rate is still 440), although the market exchange rate is currently 610 rials for one US dollar.
"This move is based on national responsibility and aimed to securing the provision of all goods for all Yemeni markets at normal prices," the CBY said then, following the "Houthi persistent speculation on currency."
On Saturday, the Yemeni internationally-recognized government-run Economic Committee (EC) said the Houthi group was to blame for fuel shortage seen by Sana'a and other provinces under the rebels control.
The tankers with fuel aboard are just off Hodeida port, because "Houthis have forced oil suppliers to breach the legitimate government's instructions and controls governing the oil trade," the EC added in a statement carried by the Riyadh-based Saba.
Since last week, Houthi-held governorates including the capital Sana'a have been living in severe shortage of fuel, with some stations closed and black market thriving.
Houthi rebels have repeatedly accused the Saudi-led coalition of "arbitrarily seizing oil tankers and denying them access to Hodeida port," controlled by the group.
But, the EC said, traders in compliance with instructions at liberated ports have been provided by the EC with facilities and exceptions and their shipments have not been delayed.
On April 9, the EC issued a decree banning the importation of any oil shipment not approved by the Aden-based CBY, warning that such shipments would be denied access by coalition.
In March 2018, the Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi decreed to liberalize the oil derivatives market, to allow for imports by private firms through all Yemeni ports, including those under Houthi control, and to give way for competition in the market.
Yemen has been racked by a 4.5-year bloody conflict between the internationally-recognized Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014.
The conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with most of the population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection.
The CBY has foreign cash reserves of more than US$ 3 billion, in the form of a Saudi 3-billion deposit and a Saudi 200-million grant.
With 30 withdrawals made so far, a total of US$ 1.423 billion has been withdrawn from the Saudi deposit until September 10 to cover LCs for food importation.
Yemen imports more than 90 percent of its food needs, including most of its needs of wheat and all needs of rice.
For roughly one year now, the Aden-based CBY is securing the hard money for suppliers to open documentary credits (at exchange rates lower than those at the market) and import food supplies.
Commercial banks serve as intermediary for trading firms, transferring the imports' value in local currency into the CBY that in turn covers that value in US dollar.