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Bouteflika Urges Algerians to Free Themselves from ‘Fuel Hegemony’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gestures during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Algeria- Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has stated that Algeria “is a victim of an economic crisis that is striking developed countries,” calling for its confrontation and enhancing the state’s production capabilities to access foreign markets.

In his message on the occasion of the Feb. 24, 1971 nationalization of oil and gas holdings, Bouteflika said Friday that the country’s economy is suffering the consequences of the drop in oil prices and fluctuation of its international market despite “Algeria’s initiatives that contributed recently to a slight enhancement in fuel prices.”

Bouteflika called on Algerians for a renaissance on various levels to achieve a radical and sustainable victory in the financial crisis, putting the national economy on track again and freeing it from the “hegemony of fuel.”

Since 2014, the government is carrying out a strict austerity plan that has influenced millions of limited-income individuals in which salary raises were frozen and recruitment was stopped in public sectors.

The Algerian president called for a national duty battle, saying “the country should continue its national reform programs in diverse economic and administrative sectors.”

The opposition criticizes the government’s plan to diversify the economy and put an end to excessive dependency on fuel.

Algeria has for a long time expressed reservations to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite the advance in related negotiations in this context. If it finalizes its membership, Algeria would then be forced to abolish the imposed custom’s tariff on foreign commodities while its national products are incapable of entering international markets for lacking the required quality.

Bouteflika has not directly addressed Algerians for the past five years due to his health condition. He asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to cancel her visit to Algeria for that reason.