Draft finance bill 2021: Trade minister’s intervention before Lower House’s Finance, Budget Commission

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ALGIERS-The Trade sector will be allotted an operating budget worth US$16.224 billion, down by 7.43% compared to the 2020 budget, said Trade Minister Kamel Rezig.

The minister, speaking before the Finance and Budget Commission of the National People’s Assembly (APN) as part of the debate on the Draft Finance Bill (PLF2021), chaired by Ahmed Zeghdar, President of the Commission, in the presence of the Minister of Relations with Parliament, Bessma Azouar, Mr. Rezig indicated that the sector’s operating budget amounted to 16.224 billion Da, the equivalent of 85.27% of the total needs of the sector.

Believing that this “slight” reduction in the sector budget was in line with the Government’s policy of rationalizing expenditure at the level of all sectors, the Minister indicated, in this context, that the preservation of social gains and the pursuit of public service have been taken into account.

Despite the decline in the sector budget for next year, Mr. Rezig reassured that his ministerial department was in the process of granting compensation for the costs of transporting goods to the wilayas of the South, while revising the list of goods concerned, by adding fruits and vegetables, red meats, white meats, barley-based products, corn and soybeans.

In this regard, Mr. Rezig underlined the ministry’s concern to take charge of the supply of the southern regions, recalling that several fundamental reforms have been introduced relating to the barter trade with the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Niger, and this through the upward revision of the list of products concerned by this system, the facilitation of administrative procedures and the support of operators active in this field.

Stressing during his intervention that the barter trade that has existed for a long time in these border wilayas must be based on the principle of trade balance, Mr. Rezig said that several products that can be exported through barter with neighboring countries have been identified, including livestock, vegetables, exotic fruits, such as pineapple and mango.

Detailing this budget, the Minister specified that the amount devoted to the equipment budget is reduced by 301 million DA, 13.92% of the request expressed to the services of the Ministry of Finance.

This amount is used to evaluate several programs in progress, including the acquisition of programs and equipment specific to the Internet network, diagnosis and examination of the state of the computer system for the digitization of the Ministry of Commerce and the acquisition of antivirus licenses for the benefit of central administration and external services for a period of five years.

For the minister, the sector has no other new programs due to the financial situation in the country.

Regarding the encouragement of exports and the approach to ensure a balanced trade, Mr. Rezig highlighted the need to create free trade zones for export, particularly in El Oued where the largest zone for export will be created, including a national market for dates, fruit and vegetables.

He cited the Chinese market which will allow Algerian farmers and exporters to orient their products there.

In this regard, the Minister of Commerce announced the creation of a joint commission with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the end of December, bringing together specialists in the field of the export of dates, drinks and white meats to China, which , for his part, expressed its satisfaction with the Algerian product and readiness to welcome it in particular during the International Exhibition of Imports and Exports of Chinese Products, the opening of which was punctuated by the participation of the Minister by videoconference.

APS

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