Algeria 2009 budget raises spending by 7 percent

Algeria 2009 budget raises spending by 7 percent

Reuters, Tue 2 Sep 2008

ALGIERS – Oil and gas exporter Algeria will boost state spending by seven percent next year to help complete economic and social reforms and subsidize basic foodstuffs, a cabinet statement said on Monday.

The draft budget, approved at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Sunday, raises spending to 5,191 billion Algerian dinars in 2009, said the statement carried by official media.

The draft is due to be discussed and voted on later by parliament, which approved a 4,322 billion dinar budget for 2008 and is due to vote on a supplementary budget this month.

The increase in 2009 spending is aimed mainly at rounding off a 2005-2009 economic plan to boost growth, modernise infrastructure and meet growing social needs including housing.

It will also help maintain subsidies to keep foods such as wheat and milk affordable for the population even as world prices rise.

The budget assumes inflation next year will be unchanged from 2008 — the government has forecast inflation of 3.5 percent for this year — and sees 2009 economic growth at 4.1 percent, the statement said.

Algeria has forecast 5.8 percent growth for 2008.

Growth next year, excluding revenue from hydrocarbons, was projected at 6.6 percent.

Oil and gas exports account for about 98 percent of the north African country’s total sales abroad.