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Sun, 16 Jun 2019 11:17 - Updated Sun, 16 Jun 2019 11:17

Public debt covered illicit enrichment - President

Luanda - The ruling MPLA president João Lourenço Saturday said that public debt, especially the foreign debt, has reached very high levels as it has also covered the illicit enrichment of a selected elite based on kinship, cronyism and nepotism.

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Photo: Joaquina Bento

Addressing the party’s 7th Extraordinary Congress opening session, João Lourenço described the situation as unfair, which urgently needs to be corrected.

He said that every dollar spent to pay off debt service, the State is also funding the said private investments in fields such as banking, mobile telephones, stockings, diamonds, among others, "that a few did with public money".

The MPLA leader regretted the fact that some public companies, such as the Oil company  “Sonangol” and diamond processing firm “Sodiam”, to finance also some of those private businesses, as if they were credit institutions."

The MPLA president is of the view that should the country reverses this situation, the battle which is not yet won, with these and other resources the government will better fight poverty, withdraw more and more citizens from the poverty line and build a true middle class with a level of life.

Also President of Republic, João Lourenço recalled that a great effort was made for national reconstruction.

He added that this initiative forced the country to resort to external indebtedness, now standing at 63 percent of the public debt, which is accounted for 84% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

João Lourenço referred to the end of the armed conflict, which destroyed a large part of infrastructure.

He recalled that the country had to borrow heavily to invest in roads and bridges, ports, airports and railways, hydro and thermo- and transmission lines, water collection and treatment plants, among others.

"Public debt, particularly foreign debt, has reached such high levels, compared to what has actually been spent on infrastructure, because it has also covered the illicit enrichment of a selected elite on the basis of kinship, cronyism and nepotism, which constituted business conglomerates with these public funds, "he said.

The president pointed to the need to increase domestic production and economic diversification, making it less and less dependent on export revenues from crude oil, as the biggest challenge.

Another challenge, he said, is the implementation of  the local authorities to recover living standards of the residents, in order to stop the growing exodus of the populations, through the creation of better social conditions.

The MPLA leader also announced plans for his government to  launch the Integrated Programme of Intervention in Municipalities (PIIM) this month.

As for the Value Added Tax (VAT), João Lourenço said that its implementation will be gradual and phased, stressing the need of  Executive to evaluate the best time for its introduction, "preferably later this year."

On the other hand, the president stressed that in Angola the incidence of the tax adopted by several market economy countries will be 14 percent and there will be no accumulation of VAT with the Consumer Tax, which is around 30 percent.

"The possible rise in prices blamed on VAT is groundless," said the MPLA leader, adding that if it happens it will be by mere speculation of bad faith traders, about which consumer protection institutions should be aware.

However, he underlined the importance of creating facilities for accounting education and ensure the profession of accounting.

At least 2,448 delegates are attending the Extraordinary Congress at Luanda’s Conference Center of Belas. Of this number, 777 are women and 1, 671 men.

The MPLA Central Committee decided to increase its members from the current 366 to 497 members.

Sixty-one percent of the new members (134) are young people.

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