Algerian parliament approves bill slashing subsidies

Algeria’s lower house of parliament
Algeria’s lower house of parliament (Photo: Commons wikimedia)
ALGIERS — Algeria’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that paves the way to scrapping subsidies on basic goods, replacing it with targeted aid to the poorest families.اضافة اعلان

The North African country, heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues, has subsidized everything from bread to electricity and petrol virtually since independence from France in 1962.

That has weighed heavily on state budgets.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane told parliament however that “the government has no intention of cutting state aid”.

The new system consists of “a new philosophy that targets families in need with direct aid,” he said.
The 407-seat lower house passed the bill with all except the 65 MPs of the Islamist party Movement of Society and Peace voting in favor.
The bill has to pass through the upper house and be signed by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to become law.

The MSP said it would “weaken Algerians’ purchasing power in an unprecedented way unless mechanisms are put in place to guarantee access to financial compensation”.

Benabderrahmane said a national scheme would be put in place to make payments to eligible households.

Algeria’s social system also provides housing benefits and free education and healthcare.mBut the economy has been vulnerable to swings in hydrocarbon prices and struggled to create jobs.

International Monetary Fund experts urged Algeria in October to “recalibrate” its economy and implement structural reforms.

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