Algeria’s Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia is optimistic that the country’s economy will improve this year as its oil and gas exports revenue has increased after it fell to half its value since 2014.
Official data revealed the North African country’s oil and natural gas exports experienced a 25 percent increase from $5.67 billion in the Jan-Feb of 2017 to $7.1 billion in the first two months of 2018.
“2017 has been a difficult year,” Ouyahia told reporters on Saturday. Unemployment in the country rose to 11.7 percent. He, however, said, “2018 will be much better.” He also added that agricultural production would improve due to better rains.
Algeria is one of the top producers of hydrocarbons in the world. It has some of the largest deposits of oil and natural gas across the globe, thus a major gas supplier to Europe. Extraction and processing of oil and gas products from the main industry makes up over 95 percent of the country’s export revenues and contributes to two-third of the country’s spending budget.
Ouyahia noted that the government plans to carry out reforms in key sectors in order to cut down spending, though the reforms would not be implemented this year.
“Our subsidy policy is to be corrected, but underprivileged sections will not be victims of this revision. The middle class will be protected and the state will not give up on low-income citizens,” the prime minister said.
Since the war ended on 2002, Algeria has enjoyed an economic boom based on the wealth it receives from its massive oil reserves. Its subsidy system offers cheap petrol, power and housing to citizens, though it is aided by the World Bank.