MPs Demand The Accreditation of Foreign Currency Exchange Offices
Members of the Economic Affairs, Trade and Planning Committee of the People’s National Assembly have officially opened the file of accrediting foreign currency exchange offices in Algeria across all Wilayas of the country, especially the border ones, to neutralize parallel markets for the sale of hard currency, led by Algiers “square” market, which trades huge sums in foreign currency.
The MPs asked the Minister of Finance, Abderrahmane Raouya, in a closed meeting last week devoted to discussing the free zones law, to take the necessary measures for adopting and opening official exchange offices, especially since the government is preparing to launch the new investment promotion law and the free zones law that is on the parliament table, and the minister pledged in his response to study the file at the level of his ministerial department and finding a solution to legalized hard currency transfers, especially since the removal of parallel markets for the sale of foreign currency was included in the government’s work program that was passed to Parliament in September 2021.
The deputies raised the problems that investors, especially foreigners, might encounter in the absence of approved exchange offices, and even activists in free zones, as such laws, if they are not attached to regular exchange offices to sell currency, will expand the black market for hard currency that circulates huge sums.
Last September, during the inauguration of the members of the National Economic, Social and Environmental Council, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced $90 billion circulating on the black market.
A member of the Economic Affairs, Trade and Planning Committee of the National People’s Assembly, Hicheme Safar, told Echorouk that the MPs raised, during a closed meeting with the Minister of Finance Abderrahman Raouya, the file of opening approved exchange offices, especially that they are today in the process of discussing the law of free zones, and they are preparing to officially enter the African Free Zone by the beginning of next July, which may create loopholes that allow the passage of huge amounts of hard currency to the black market and open the way for abuses in the field of exchange.
“The Minister of Finance confirmed his willingness to open the file and demarcate these offices soon, especially since the government is also preparing to adopt a new investment law, which is expected to be launched by the Council of Ministers, headed by Abdelmadjid Tebboune, next Thursday. In this context”, Safar added that “the representatives are proposing to transfer everything related to industrial activity in the Free Zone Law to the Investment Law and keeping only the commercial part and transfers in the text of the Free Zone Law.”‘
“They also called on the Minister of Finance to provide special facilities at banks and banking operations to enable these areas to contribute significantly to raising exports outside of hydrocarbons, which had previously been ordered by the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, to be raised to nearly $7 billion by the end of 2022”.
The spokesman referred to the postponement of the activities of the Economic Committee of the National People’s Assembly, especially concerning the field information outputs related to investigating the lifting of the freeze on pending projects until the decision on the investment law file expected in Parliament next week if the Council of Ministers approves it, noting that “this law will be an economic constitution, not subject to amendment through financial laws, and it will continue to be in effect for 10 years and will deal with local and foreign investment files, which requires scrutiny of every small and big thing related to it and studying it in depth.”