Algeria Leader Dubs IMF Foreign Debt Advice ‘Political Suicide’
Algeria’s president said following International Monetary Fund advice to reverse its long-standing policy and take on foreign borrowing would lead to “political suicide,” describing the OPEC member as able to ride out economic troubles exacerbated by the pandemic.
“We will never choose that option, it is unthinkable,” Abdelmadjid Tebboune told a select group of journalists in a televised briefing late Sunday. The North African nation will end the year with enough revenue to cover its needs for 2022, he said.
The president’s remarks came a few days after the IMF’s latest Article IV report urged Algeria to begin gradual fiscal adjustment in 2022 to maintain debt sustainability. One notable recommendation for the oil and gas-rich country: diversifying its sources of budget financing to include external borrowing.
Falling income from energy exports has combined with the pandemic to pile pressure on Algeria’s economy. The country, where long-time leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in 2019 amid mass protests, is still facing demands from demonstrators for widespread change.
Tebboune said Algeria has trimmed its export bill while avoiding shortages, adding that its non-hydrocarbon exports will reach a record $4.5 billion by the end of 2021.
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