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Algeria’s Bouteflika replaces energy, finance ministers

Algeria struggles to revive its economy and boost oil and gas production

Published: Updated:

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika named new energy and finance ministers on Saturday in a cabinet reshuffle, as the OPEC member tries to cope with a sharp fall in oil and gas earnings that have placed increasing pressure on its finances.

Nouredine Bouterfa, the head of state power firm Sonelgaz, was named as the new energy minister, replacing Salah Khebri, while junior budget minister Hadji Baba Ammi was appointed to replace Abderrahmane Benkhalfa at the finance ministry, a statement carried by state media said.

No reason was given for the changes, but the reshuffle comes as Algeria struggles to revive its economy and boost oil and gas production, with divergent views over how hard to push for foreign investment and for domestic economic reform.

The North African state has taken some measures to adapt to falling income, including raising subsidized fuel and electricity prices, cutting back on infrastructure projects and trimming budget spending.

But reform has been sluggish, held back by a debate between reformers keen to lessen dependency on oil and gas revenues, and an older guard reluctant to liberalize a state-dominated system.