Bouteflika supports partial privatization of Sonatrach

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has affirmed his support for the partial privatization of the national oil company, Sonatrach, which he says would render the company more profitable. He cautioned that the privatization, however, must be carried out with transparency and in a way that allows the state to remain the majority shareholder.


ALGIERS�Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has affirmed his support for the partial privatization of the national oil company, Sonatrach, which he says would render the company more profitable. He cautioned that the privatization, however, must be carried out with transparency and in a way that allows the state to remain the majority shareholder.

Quoted by the local daily Le Jeune Independent, Bouteflika said, "If the privatization of Sonatrach would render it more profitable and assure the company of a larger expansion, then why not?"

He referred to conditions necessary to attract foreign investment to the country, pointing to the improvement of Algeria's perception abroad with regard to the "scope and reliability of reforms underway in the economic and political domains."

He added: "We have to look at improving the investment environment through transparent measures and management practices that would reassure and attract local and foreign investors."

Bouteflika also spoke about the country's external debt, currently standing at about $28 billion. He urged converting that debt to equity stakes in Algerian state firms within the framework of the government's privatization program. However, he pointed out that this option does not prevent his country from pleading for the cancellation of its debts.

Bouteflika says Algeria had always been an exemplary country that has honored its financial commitments. Such actions merit encouragement by the nation's bilateral and multilateral creditors, he says.

More in New Plants