Angola: Economy Generates Over 161,000 Jobs

Luanda — Angolan economy generated 161,997 jobs between 2018 and the third quarter of 2019, almost one third of the posts foreseen by the Government for the 2017-2022 period.

This is one of the main indicators presented by the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, predicting economic growth from 2020.

In State of the Nation Address delivered at the opening of the new Parliamentary Year, Joao Lourenço said that of 161,000 jobs, 80.3% were created in the public and private business sector, with 19.7% in the civil service.

The President said that the Commerce sector generated the most jobs, followed by Construction and Public Works, Transport, Agriculture and Industry.

Still in the economic field, the Statesman recalled that the economic crisis, which began in 2014 due to the fall in oil prices, has now worsened with the increase in public debt, accounted for 90 percent of GDP.

To escape the "debt trap", the President said that by 2019 the debt service reached 51 percent of State Budget (OGE) expenditure, assuring that the previously deficit budget balance is now positive.

According to him, this exercise allows the Executive to reduce the need to resort to public debt.

Addressing the MPs, João Lourenço reiterated that the focus of his governance is to revive and diversify the economy, with the resumption of growth from 2020 onwards.

He predicted a one-digit reduction in inflation rates to sustain the country's economy.

According to the Head of State, the Government is working on building a market economy and changing the economic structure, which currently depends on the public sector and the oil industry.

He pointed out to the reforms in the field of legislation and the opening of the market, speaking of the approval of the Private Investment Law and the Competition Law to make Angola a prime investment destination.

For the competitiveness of the economy and effective integration in the SADC, João Lourenço spoke of the ongoing privatisation process, noting that five state-owned companies out of 195 have already been sold to private investors.

The President is of the view that the privatisation programme is an important way to strengthen the productive sector and set up a true market economy.

Another important step for the country's integration into the SADC region, according to João Lourenço, was the entry into force of the Value Added Tax (VAT), described as milestone in the modernisation of public finances.

This is the most impactful tax imposed by the Angolan Government, through the General Tax Administration (AGT), which replaced the Consumption Tax.

VAT is initially levied by large taxpayers and companies that have adhered to the general scheme on a voluntary basis.

As for the entry into force of VAT, the President said that he hoped, with information and punitive measures, the price speculation practiced by some entrepreneurs comes to an end.

In another area, the President spoke of the adjustment of energy and water prices, fuels, fuel subsidies for agriculture and fisheries.

He underlined the change recorded in import, with the import of capital goods for investment in the productive sector, now replacing the import of the current consumer goods.

In his speech the President spoke of the launch of the Integrated Municipal Intervention Programme (PIIM), with available resources of USD 2 billion, which started in the municipality of Cazombo, eastern Moxico province.

In order to revive the private business sector, Joao Lourenço highlighted the regularisation of arrears, with Kwanza 250 billion repaid over the current year (2019).

In order to create a strong private sector and make the national economy competitive, he recalled that the Executive launched the Credit Support Programme (PAC) under PRODESI, underlining that it will continue to mobilise resources to support the various segments of the economy.

The priority will be for those sectors focused on producing 54 products elected to reduce imports and increase exports.

João Lourenço announced, on the other hand, the local produced goods, with priority for the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and National Police, with a view to increasing the confidence of the country's economic agents.

In terms of attracting investments, the head of State referred to the improvement of the business environment and the creation of AIPEX, which became the only investment promotion entity in the country.

This public institute, he said, received 178 investment intentions, valued at over USD1 billion, focused on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, with the prospect of creating over 13,000 direct jobs.

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