The National Association of Algerian Importers expected that the Coronavirus crisis will contribute to reducing the bill for Algeria’s imports within 90 days by 6 billion dollars, and this since the suspension of the movement of commercial ships to and from China, and also in the wake of the suspension of travel, which will not normally return before the end of April in the best cases.
Meanwhile, the association called for the list of prohibited items to include shipping services and a small reduction in oil imports, in addition to mobile phones and electromechanical equipment.
The chairman of the Algerian Importers Association, Ali Bey Naceri, confirms in a statement to Echorouk that the decision to reduce imports by 10 billion dollars this year cannot affect food items which total bill is equivalent to 7 billion dollars, nor pharmaceuticals with two billion dollars, but it may include mobile phones and households, which bill equals 3 billion dollars, in addition to the equipment for cars installation factories and the reduction of the oil bill in all its forms.
“The Coronavirus crisis and stopping the movement of ships to and from China, which supplies the Algerian economy with a quarter of its imports, will contribute to reducing imports by 6 billion dollars automatically, but the final bill for import that we will find at the end of 2020 is not related to the list of prohibited items from import but also the stock exchange in the international market”.
“Imports will decrease automatically due to the stoppage of construction workshops, public works, installation factories and even import traffic from China, but if prices rise in the global market, this will negatively affect the bill”.
The chairman of Algerian Importers Association also called for not excluding services of imports from the list of diversified materials from import, and it is related to foreign expertise offices that the President of the Republic announced in the cabinet to stop them, and foreign transport and shipping companies.
“The service bill costs the Algerian treasury 12 billion dollars a month, and it should be greatly reduced to maintain the remaining foreign exchange reserves of Algeria”.
On the other hand, the economist and professor Abdelkader Beriche affirmed that defining a new list of materials that are banned from import is added to the first list that includes 1000 products, which will be a difficult decision for the government and laboratories of the Trade Ministry and requires sifting the materials that can be dispensed with.
“The necessary commodities which import remains important at this stage are the basic consumption goods that are not produced locally or produced in quantities that do not cover market needs and raw materials that constitute inputs to industrial processes, pharmaceuticals, medicines and grains, especially wheat, milk powder, energetic materials, and oil derivatives”.
Beriche considered that apart from these materials, the import is restricted to other commodities, and this is to achieve the goal of downloading the import bill to the limits of $ 30 billion and maintain a safe level of exchange reserves, especially in light of the large decline in oil prices.
“These measures come under the heading of an emergency plan for economic rescue, which causes the government to postpone adherence to its work plan and focuses on managing the crisis and reorienting financial resources according to the requirements of the severity of the crisis and the requirements to face it”.