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Algeria Plans First Wealth Tax to Cope With Financial Pressure

FILE - A man counts Algerian Dinar banknotes in Algiers, Algeria, Nov. 24, 2016.

Algeria will implement a wealth tax for the first time next year as part of measures aimed at securing new sources of finance after a sharp fall in energy earnings, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on Wednesday.

State finances of the OPEC member North African nation have been significantly hit after a more than 50 percent drop in oil and gas revenue.

Oil and gas account for 60 percent of the state budget and 95 percent of total exports.

That has forced the government to consider long-delayed reforms, including turning to Islamic financial services and developing the country's stock market, which now has a low level of liquidity.

Authorities have also started reducing public spending and have set import restrictions in a bid to cut the value of goods shipped from abroad.

Ouyahia said the implementation of the wealth tax from early 2018 would affect about 10 percent of the country's 41 million people.

"This tax will not concern 90 percent of Algerians," he told parliament.