Water rations, skyrocketing food prices and the economic crisis associated with Covid-19: Algerians started fasting for a month under difficult circumstances.
“We have a president talking to us about oil, meat and semolina”, Lamented Hafid. In an interview broadcast on public television on April 4, the small breeder commented on Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s speech on a farm in eastern Algeria. Ramadan is scheduled to start on April 13 (Tuesday), and the head of state promises to provide food. He also warned speculators. In recent weeks, speculators have been accused of causing the prices of certain basic products to soar, including oil.
The words are not really reassuring: the country has been in a difficult socio-economic situation for months, and what is worrying is that Algerians started fasting this month, which is synonymous with daily family reunion. “It’s not during Ramadan I have to limit myself”Hafid explained, and listed the additional costs of various dishes-dates, fermented milk, dried fruits, cheese…-when the fast is broken, it will become a decoration on the family table. “Fortunately I have sheep, so I don’t have to buy imported meat », add a breeder.
Because it is second only to oil, it is the rising price of meat that irritates consumers and has led to repeated calls for boycotts of the product. In order to reduce tariffs, the authorities began issuing special permits in early April to import frozen red meat from Spain. To combat speculation, the government plans to deploy 20,000 controllers across the country.
The traditional increase in consumer prices during Ramadan can be explained by several factors. “The Covid-19 crisis has had an impact on businesses, production and manufacturing networks. The devaluation of the dinar has also affected the purchasing power of citizens”Represents Hadj Tahar Boulenouar, Chairman of the National Association of Traders and Craftsmen. The loss of value of the Algerian currency relative to the U.S. dollar and euro reference currency pushed up foreign currency import prices.This trend directly affects consumer prices, and “More than 70%” Family needs “Reliance on imports”, In December, the economist Smaïl Lalmas explained every day El Watan.
In Algeria, the average annual inflation rate reached 2.6% by the end of January 2021. “Compared to the rest of the world, under control”, Supports the Minister of Finance Aymen Benabderrahmane, and promises “re-acquire” The growth of the national currency by the end of the year, thanks to “Start several development projects” According to him, this will restore economic activity. Far from a certain point of view. “The appreciation or devaluation of the dinar will depend on real growth rates, macro financial and economic indicators, legal, institutional and political stability », Economist Abderrahmane Mebtoul (Abderrahmane Mebtoul) warned that legislative elections are scheduled for June.
Some indicators have turned red. Therefore, according to preliminary estimates by the Algerian authorities in December, nearly 500,000 jobs have been lost since the outbreak of the health crisis. Mouloud Khaloufi, chairman of the General Association of Algerian Entrepreneurs, revealed to the information website that in the construction industry alone, the country has lost 150,000 jobs. TSA. “More than 70% of companies are in trouble, but their operational capabilities are less than 50% of their capabilities”, Appoint Mr. Mebtoul.
This month’s Ramadan may also suffer another crisis: the water crisis, the water ration was initially rejected by the authorities, annoying users. On April 5, in Bordj El Kiffan in the eastern outskirts of Algiers, dozens of residents blocked national roads and tram lines through the town to express their boredom. “The water was stopped at night until the next morning, but sometimes water saving was not done at a fixed time. Suddenly, we couldn’t organize ourselves.”, Latifa, a resident in the center of Algiers, said he was worried about the next few weeks.
On March 22, Algerienne des Eaux’s Director-General Hocine Zaïr warned that the country would “Reduce distribution time”, Can switch to release version “Every other day”, If there is no supplementary water reserve. The official said that Algeria is facing severe water pressure, rainfall has decreased, and the dam filling rate has reached 44%.
In the face of the controversy, Minister of Water Resources Mustapha Kamel Mihoubi (Mustapha Kamel Mihoubi) rest assured “Continuously maintain population supply during Ramadan”. But in the capital, many residents are not very confident. They have made arrangements to overhaul the pool or install new storage tanks, and then place it on the balcony or the roof of the building.
As for the residents of small towns without running water, they have relied on community unity for many years. On his farm, Hafid dug an underground reservoir that can hold hundreds of liters of water. “Whenever I need to fill it up or irrigate my trees, I call my neighbors and cousins., He explained. I ended up installing a pipe directly connected to its water basin and paid by the hour to compensate for the power consumption of the water pump. “
Without home wells, residents will be forced to pay to individuals who provide them with water through tanks or travel miles from municipal channels to filling their own tanks.