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Algerian government postpones lifting subsidies and cancels fuel price hike

Algerian market [File photo]

The Algerian government announced on Monday that it would postponement of lifting subsidies support programme, cancel imposing new fees and taxes in the upcoming 2019 budget, and exempting all types of fuel from any price increases.

The decisions were unveiled in press statements of the Finance Minister Abdel Rahman Rawi and Energy Minister Mustafa Guitouni, on the sidelines of the formal start of the parliamentary year.

Rawi told reporters that the subsidies policy would continue next year.

He added in response to a question on this issue: “Support will continue in 2019. The policy targeting vulnerable groups in society will be applied when conditions are met. The government will not take action if the categories in need of such support are not identified.”

According to Rawi, the Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, is currently conducting statistics to identify unprivileged people who deserve direct support from the state.

The Finance Minister added that “this task shared between the Ministry of Finance and the ministry of the Interior as well as other sectors are not over yet”. The same minister previously stated that the government is inclined in 2019 to cancel currently applied subsidies on fuel and primary consumption items. Such a move will be followed by providing direct support in the form of paychecks given to targeted beneficiaries after finishing their counting process.

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According to media leaks, the 2019 budget includes over $17 billion in the form of financial support directed to social aid. Nonetheless, Algeria allocates support funds to various sectors and social categories. Such financial assistance takes the form of direct funding for those concerned, and indirect state intervention to pay the price margin of crucial consumption products.

The housing sector spends a significant share of the state support funds on free housing. Algerians who get paid less than 24 thousands Algerian dinars ($240 approximately) monthly are provided with free housing.

Algerian authorities are also supporting the health and education sectors by guaranteeing free access to different services, in addition to helping the poor in the holy month of Ramadan with food products.

Algeria’s Finance Minister pointed out that the budget bill for the coming year will not include new extra taxes and fees.

He mentioned in this regard that the 2019 budget is still in a preliminary form and has not yet been ratified by the Council of Ministers.

Rawi added: “Despite that, the budget will not include new fees and taxes and there are no additional fees on the internet connection, nor prices will increase.”

Algerian media had pointed out a few days ago to increases in the prices of landline and mobile internet connection that will be imposed in the 2019 budget.

Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni told reporters there would be no increases in fuel prices under the new budget.

In a brief statement, Guitouni explained that gasoline, diesel oil, and LPG fuel, in addition to electricity prices, would be exempted from significant increases in 2019.

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