Algeria plans wealth, property tax for first time

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Algeria plans to implement taxes on wealth and property next year for the first time, the presidency said after a cabinet meeting on Sunday that approved the draft budget for 2020.

OPEC member Algeria has been struggling to secure new funding sources for its economy after a fall in energy earnings, the main source of state finances.

At a meeting chaired by interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, the cabinet also approved measures endorsed at a previous meeting that was presided over by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, the presidency said in a statement.

Those measures mainly included a plan to cut public spending by 9.2 percent and seek foreign loans to reduce pressure on the North African country’s state finances.

But spending on subsidies will remain unchanged in 2020 at 8.4 percent of gross domestic product, as the government seeks to avoid social unrest in a country that subsidies almost everything from basic foodstuffs to fuel, housing and medicine.

The authorities are already under pressure from weekly mass protests demanding the cancellation of a presidential election planned for Dec. 12.

Demonstrators believe the vote will not be fair as long as former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s allies, including Bensalah and Bedoui, are still in power.

The draft budget still needs final approval by parliament later this year.

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