ALGIERS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Algeria is to take a couple of urgent measures to curb the mounting financial crisis, including cutting public spending by 30 percent, the official APS news agency reported.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss the state's financial situation amid the record fall of oil prices in the global market.
Tebboune ordered the government to cut public spending by 30 percent, through delaying state projects and suspending study and service contracts with foreign firms, which would enable the government to retrieve some 7 billion U.S. dollars.
He stressed that the cut in spending should not affect public service wages, and projects destined to deprived areas, as well as budgets already allocated to the education sector and health sector, notably to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Tebboune also ordered to take some urgent measures to preserve foreign exchange assets, including reducing import bill from 41 billion dollars to 31 billion dollars. He also instructed the state-run energy giant Sonatrach to reduce its investment budget by half, from 14 billion dollars to 7 billion dollars.
In a bid to cope with the decline in oil prices in the international markets, Tebboune ordered the government to work on increasing "at the highest level of fertilizer production, strengthening maritime transport services for hydrocarbons at international level, and examining the possibility of exporting electricity to neighboring countries."
Algeria has been under financial pressure since 2014, when the oil price started its downfall trend. President Tebboune is facing a challenge to build a strong non-oil economy that is able to generate stable and sustainable revenues.