Algeria plans to lift a ban on imports of cell phones, household appliances and food and bring in high customs duties instead, its trade minister said on Monday. This they say is an attempt to generate more tax revenue to ease pressure on state finances.
The ban replaced a license system the government imposed in 2016 in a failed attempt to ease the imports bill.
“We consider imposing additional customs duties for finished goods. This is part of our search for (a) more efficient instrument,” the trade minister, Said Djellab, told a conference.
“This plan will be discussed by the government in June,” he however did not state when the ban on imports would be lifted
Energy accounts for 60 percent of the state budget and 95 percent of total export revenues for the OPEC member country. Oil and gas earnings have almost halved since crude oil prices started falling in mid-2014, hitting state finances significantly
“These are temporary preventive measures. The crisis taught us lessons,” Djellab said.
In apparent reference to discontent from Algeria’s partners after the import restrictions, the minister said the government had started talks with suppliers including the European Union.
“We explained to our partners, including the European Union that we are experiencing a difficult period. They understood the situation. A dialogue is still going on with them,” he said.
Measures regarding imports will be accompanied by steps to boost domestic production and a five-year plan aimed at diversifying exports will be discussed in July, he said.