A central banker in Yemen has denied claims that letters of credit (L/Cs) for much needed food imports to alleviate widespread hunger in the country divided by war are only available in certain areas.

The central bank of Yemen itself is currently split into two rival head offices.

Saudi loan

One central bank office is supported by Saudi Arabia and located in the southern port of Aden, the seat of the Riyadh-backed government.

The other is in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, now controlled by the Houthi group that has been fighting a Saudi-led coalition for almost four years.

Saudi Arabia last year lent US$2 billion to the Aden based office to help finance imports of basic goods.

Importers switch

The Saudi loan prompted importers who previously obtained L/Cs through the central bank in Sanaa to try to switch to the bank in Aden, but some traders say the Aden office favours traders based in government-held areas.

Aden based Deputy Governor Shokeib Hobeishy denies this and says there is no question of his bank issuing L/Cs to those doing business in some areas of the country and not others.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.