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Algerian Government to Cut Support to the Rich

April 27, 2022

A preparatory meeting will be held at the level of the National People’s Assembly after Eid al-Fitr, in preparation for determining who are the representatives concerned with attending the discussions of the body designated to lift subsidies for those who do not deserve it, i.e. the rich and the affluent, in implementation of Article 187 of the 2022 Finance Law, the Deputy Speaker of the People’s National Assembly, Youcef Adjissa, told Echorouk.

“It is likely that the heads of parliamentary blocs will participate in the discussion sessions because they represent all parties and political figures in the country, in addition to the representatives who enjoy the status of expert and specialist in the field, especially since the file is thorny and requires that those who discuss it enjoy wide data that allow them to address its various points”, Adjissa added.

“The sessions will start at the end of May, as President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced the creation of a new body that will take care of studying the file at the end of next month, and before that, Parliament will have identified those involved in the discussion to take the first step to pass towards selectivity in granting state support”.

In this context, the head of the parliamentary bloc of the Construction Movement (al-binaa), Kamel Ben Khalouf, told Echorouk that the process of counting those concerned with support must be preceded by a comprehensive census that affects the rich, the poor and the middle class, and then the new body will undertake the search for appropriate mechanisms to achieve social justice without injustice to any group and the adoption of a scientific approach to addressing the situation of each citizen separately.

“If the amounts allocated for subsidies are reduced from 17 to 7 billion dollars, the government will have achieved an important stop”, Ben Khalouf explained.

The speaker suggested that the value of the cash grant that will be distributed to those eligible for support varies, according to the class to which they belong, meaning that the unemployment grant is not equal to the grant for the low-paid, and the grant of the latter is not equal to the medium and high wage, except for the upper frames who should not be covered by the state support including businessmen and wealthy as well.

Member of the Finance and Budget Committee of the National People’s Assembly, Abdelkader Beriche, explained that Parliament will stick to its right to approve the committee’s work after its completion, to be issued in the form of a law, especially since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune proposed a new procedure to expand the consultation and form a multisectoral committee that includes civil society, political parties and syndicates with the participation of various actors provided that national consensus is achieved.

According to the economic expert, Ishak Khorchi, the process of lifting the subsidy for those who do not deserve it may collide with 7 obstacles, namely how to deal with the unemployed who receive unemployment grants and how they will be classified, people active in the black market, who are registered with the state as destitute, because their activities are not declared and some people did not accept the decision to lift the subsidy despite the grant they might receive.

“The absence of data on the properties of the wealthy and merchants, and the absence of the concept of poor income, due to the discrepancy and the rise in prices each time, and therefore the grant must remain open and subject to modification according to the reality of the market, in addition to the fact that the Economic, Social and Environmental Council has not yet prepared an accurate study on lifting subsidies and the absence of statistics by the National Office of Statistics”.

The spokesman suggested that the support will be gradually lifted and that it initially includes embassies, diplomats and foreign companies active in Algeria, then foodstuffs gradually over years and not within one year, taking into account the internal reaction each time and knowing how to contain the situation.