Algeria has been hit by two shocks in 2020—the spread of COVID-19 and the sharp decline in oil prices. Government policy is responding to both shocks.
The first case of COVID-19 in Algeria was reported on February 25, 2020. The authorities responded to the pandemic by implementing containment measures since early February 2020 (e.g., cancelling flights, and imposing quarantines to repatriated Algerians). Confinement measures included closure of schools, universities, restaurants, and shops; cancellation of public and private events; shut down of transportation services (internal and external); putting on mandatory leave half of civil servants and private workers with full compensation. Demonstrations and religious activities were cancelled, a lockdown of affected areas was ordered and a curfew was put in place in several cities including Algiers.
A gradual easing of containment measured started in early June 2020. The authorities have continued to monitor and adapt the lockdown measures as needed, including during the second wave of the pandemic in Algeria in late 2020. International borders partially reopened in June 2021. The number of daily new cases, which had fallen sharply through to late March 2021 following a peak during the second wave, is ticking up again. Algeria started the vaccination campaign in late-January 2021 with 100,000 doses of vaccines and has since received additional doses through the COVAX Facility and other sources. Domestic production of the Sputnik V vaccine is expected to start in September, according to an official government announcement.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
- Which vaccines are available in Algeria? SPUTNIK-V, SINOPHARM, ASTRO-ZENECA
- The Algerian Ministry of Health has a website to register for a COVID-19 vaccine. It has also announced that individuals may register at public health units: “établissements publics de santé de proximité (EPSP).” There is a prioritization which includes age group, but the Ministry has not published specifics. The registration web page, available in French and Arabic, may not be accessible from the U.S. and can be found here:
Entry and Exit Requirements:
- Algeria closed all land borders and suspended non-cargo international air and maritime travel as of March 17. Limited domestic flights were resumed December 6.
- Is a curfew in place? Yes
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes
Fines for Non-Compliance:
- Enforcement is variable. However, fines of up to 10,000 Algerian Dinars can be assessed for not wearing a mask in public.
Key Policy Responses as of June 3, 2021
In response to the economic impact on household and enterprises of the lockdown measures in 2020, the authorities postponed the declaration and payments of income taxes for individuals and enterprises, except for large enterprises. Further contractual deadlines were relaxed and penalties for companies that experience delays in completing public contracts were suspended.
A supplementary finance law (SFL) was enacted on June 4, 2020. It included provisions amounting to DZD 70 bn dinars to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. For the health sector, this included DZD 3.7 bn for medical supplies, DZD 16.5 bn for bonus payments to health workers, and DZD 8.9 bn for the health sector's development. For the economic impact, the law included DZD 20 bn for allowances to the unemployed and DZD 11.5 bn for transfers to poor households. Overall, in order to adjust to the new low oil price environment, the SFL envisaged a reduction in current and capital spending by 5.7 percent (representing 2.2 percent of 2019 GDP) compared to the initial 2020 budget law.
In August 2020, national socio-economic recovery plan was discussed at a conference. Among other things the plan aims to ensure food and pharmaceutical security, promote a favorable business climate, and foster high value-added sectors and international trade and FDI.
In May 2021, the Ministry of Finance estimated the budget cost of measures taken to cushion the economic and social impact of the pandemic and respond to the health crisis at DZD 238 bn. Of this amount, DZD 99.2bn were to support workers, DZD73bn were in social support measures including to vulnerable liberal professionals and DZD 22.5bn for vaccine procurement.
MONETARY AND MACRO-FINANCIAL
On March 15, the Bank of Algeria lowered the reserve requirement ratio from 10 percent to 8 percent, and its main policy rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent.
On April 6, the Bank of Algeria announced that it was easing solvency, liquidity and NPLs ratios for banks. Banks are also allowed to extend payments of some loans without a need to provision against them.
On April 30, the Bank of Algeria announced that it was cutting its main policy rate from 3.25 to 3.00 percent, that it was lowering its reserve requirement ratio from 8 percent to 6 percent, and that it was lowering haircuts on government securities used in refinancing operations.
On September 14, the Bank of Algeria announced a reduction in the reserve requirement ratio from 6 percent to 3 percent and the activation of 1-month open market operations.
On October 14, 2020, the Bank of Algeria announced that the easing of prudential requirements for banks, announced in April 2020, would be extended through the end of the year.
On January 6, 2021, the Bank of Algeria announced that the easing of prudential requirements for banks, first announced in April 2020, would be extended through March 31, 2021. On February 8 2021, the Bank of Algeria announced a reduction in the reserve requirement ratio from 3 percent to 2 percent effective February 15, 2021.
On April 1, 2021, the Bank of Algeria announced that the easing of prudential requirements for banks, first announced in April 2020, would be extended through June 30, 2021.
EXCHANGE RATE AND BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
Source : IMF & WB
Civic Freedom Tracker
BAN ON PUBLIC GATHERINGS
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune bans all protests, marches, demonstrations, and other mass gatherings, due to the coronavirus epidemic. His order also closes all public spaces suspected of being a hub for the virus. (See primary source or citation here)
Date Introduced: 17 Mar 2020
Source : ICNL