The visit started as from Wednesday by the President of the French Médef Movement, Pierre Gattaz, at the head of a large French businessmen delegation to Algeria was not quite different from previous ones and just after meeting with Algerian officials and employers’ organizations, the Médef President called for new facilities to be granted to the French companies in the Algerian market.
During his meeting with the Chairman of the Forum of Heads of Enterprises Ali Haddad in the presence of the Minister of Industry and Mines Youcef Yousfi at the El Aurassi Hotel on Wednesday, Mr. Gattaz raised four outstanding points: the abolition of investment rule 51/49 regulating foreign investment in Algeria; the payment of French companies’ Profits and the upgrading of the country’s investment climate.
The Minister of Industry and Mines, Youcef Yousfi, admitted during his speech in the presence of the businessmen of the two countries, and with a strong representation of the Algerian and French press, that there are indeed some hurdles to investment in Algeria, noting that there are difficulties in licenses and payment of dues.
“You came here to require money from us and therefore I ask you to show patience and to ensure technology transfer and regular employment for Algerians, and thereby I’d say congratulations to you for the money you’ll take”, the minister underscored.
On the legal basis governing the 51/49 investment rule in force in Algeria, the Minister replied: “the 51/49 rule is irreversible”, adding that “talk about it has become a thing of the past, as a number of countries today accept it,” by citing the example of China, Spain, Italy, Germany, Turkey and other countries, which expressed their intention to invest in Algeria by garnering relevant market income, without raising any problems.
Mr Youcef Yousfi urged the French to bring experience and transfer of knowledge to Algeria and to be patient despite the transient difficulties, so that they can achieve success in the medium and long term, while pointing to the emergence of important foreign partnerships with Algeria even outside Europe.
For his part, the President of the Forum of Heads of National Enterprises (FCE) Mr. Ali Haddad, said that the FCE supports the existence of the 51/49 investment rule, which protects the national economy, and considers that the investment climate in Algeria is not as bad as it is purported by some ill-informed quarters.
He also asserted that “many countries in the world are facing economic difficulties, and with regard to the transfer of profits to France, he argued that Algeria does not raise any problem at this level if the French companies fully complied with their duties in Algeria by duly paying their taxes and ensuring the liquidation of outstanding accounts.
Concerning the repayment of debts of French companies that benefited from projects not completed in Algeria, Mr Ali Haddad stated that the latter have been paid normally since November 2017, and that the Government does not face any obstacles at this level, and that the overdue debts will be paid any time soon.