Algeria Sets Measures to Mitigate Impact of Covid-19 on Economy
In the context of the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) the global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 3,635,934 reported cases worldwide. On 4 May the Algerian Ministry of Health announced 4,648 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 465 deaths, in Algeria.
In that respect, the government of Algeria has implemented various measures with a view to limiting the spread of COVID-19. On 17 March 2020, Algeria announced the immediate closure of all land borders and the suspension of non-cargo international air and maritime travel. As of 22 March 2020, all domestic flights have also been suspended. Cultural, sporting, and commercial events are suspended, and restaurants and cafes, schools, universities, public baths, event halls, nightclubs and all forms of public transportation are closed.
A curfew has been imposed in Algiers, Tizi Ouzou, Setif, Tipaza, Medea, Oran, Tlemcen, Bejaia, and Ain Defla from 5 pm to 7 am, and Blida from 2 pm to 7 am. All other wilayas are under curfew from 7 pm to 7 am.
Pursuant to Decree 20-100 dated 19 April 2020 relating to the reconduction of the COVID-19 protection measures, the COVID-19 protection measures have been reconducted until 14 May 2020.
The consequences of Covid-19 in Algeria, as in many places in the world, are significant in many respects. The sanitary and social protection measures taken by the Algeria Government have a major impact on Algeria’s economic activity.
To this end, we have put together a summary of the key measures taken by the Government and other Algerian authorities to try and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the economic activity.
- The Ministry of Finance is tasked to facilitate customs clearance of imported food products and to speed up the related banking procedures in the light of the exceptional situation the country is going through. In that respect, the Central Customs Department (Direction Générale des Douanes) has establish and made available to professionals (i.e. customs brokers) a list of goods necessary in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak (e.g. health devices and basic products) and which benefit from a green circuit (i.e. allowing for expedited customs clearance and removal).
- Certain products are temporarily suspended for export, including some foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products.
- An extension has been granted for the deadline for declarations and the payment of duties and taxes until (i) 20 may 2020 for the monthly and trimestral declarations (série G n°50 and série G n°50 ter), (ii) 30 June 2020 for the annual declarations (bilan et annexes) and (iii) 31 May 2020 for the companies attached to the Tax Corporate Section (Direction Générale des Entreprises).
- The possibility of requesting a tax debt payment rescheduling for taxpayers who find themselves in a difficult financial situation.
- In order to reduce the impact of the Covid-19, the Bank of Algeria specified exceptional measures to soften certain prudential provisions applicable to banks and financial institutions, in terms of liquidity, capital and debt classification. Such measures notably include the possibility to reschedule and restructure clients’ debt.
- Pursuant to Instruction No. 05-20 of the Bank of Algeria, the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF) invites banks and financial institutions to examine the individual situation of each client (individual professionals, very small businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, small and medium-sized industries and large companies) and grant the appropriate following measures:
- Extension and/or renewal of deadlines for credits maturing on or after 31 March 2020;
- Consolidation of unpaid debts not treated on or after 31 March 2020;
- Extension of the deadlines for the use of credit facilities and deferred payments;
- Cancellation of penalties for late payment of receivables due on or after 31 March 2020;
- Maintenance and/or renewal of operating loans.
- The measures decided are applicable for a period of 6 months from 31 March 2020.
Public Procurement Measures
- The Prime Minister decided to suspend late payment penalties on companies in order to mitigate the impact of prevention measures implemented in order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economic situation. For all public procurements, local authorities, public bodies and institutions, penalties for delay within the limit set by the orders for stopping and restarting services issued accordingly by the contracting party will not be applied, from the date of publication of Executive Decree N 20-69 of 21 March 2020, on measures to prevent and combat the spread of Coronavirus.
- In order to mitigate the financial consequences of this crisis on public and private construction companies and on employment, the Minister of Finance should release and notify, as soon as possible, to the various project owners, the receivables (and any reassessment of such receivables) necessary for their payment under the public procurement.
Social Security Measures
- Extension by 30 days (i.e. until 30 May 2020) of the deadline for the payment of contributions for the month of April to the National Social Insurance Fund for Salaried Employees (CNAS).
- Extension of the deadline for the payment of contributions to the National Social Security Fund for Non-Salaried Employees (CASNOS), until next 30 September, initially scheduled for 30 June of each year.
- Suspension of delay penalties of contributions to CNAS and CASNOS for a period of 6 months starting on April 2020;
- Regarding workers in the construction, public works and hydraulic sector currently on leave as part of preventive measures taken against the spread of Covid-19, the minister said that the National Fund for paid leave and bad weather unemployment in the construction and public works sector (CACOBATPH) “will exceptionally take in charge, the advance payment of annual leave of such workers according to the months contributed between July 2019 and February 2020, calling on those concerned to contact the CACOBATPH to benefit from this measure”.
The information presented in this document may be modified or specified by the Algerian Government and/or other Algerian authorities in order to adapt to the evolution of Covid-19 and its consequences.
Please note that together with ALN, we have been putting in place resources to better support you. In addition to being available via email and over the phone, we have developed a portal, the ALN COVID HUB, where we will be continuously posting up-to-date information of Africa-wide relevance to businesses, organisations and the general public.
Should you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact Foued Bourabiat.
The content of this alert is intended to be of general use only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific legal advice on any matter.