Monday, 24 January 2011

Algeria: Cevital in the firing line

Going on the offensive, the Algerian regime appears to have started a campaign against Cevital, the most dominant player in the Algerian private sector. The group controls 60–65 per cent of the cooking oil market and over 70 per cent of the sugar market, and is thus an easy target. In the wake of the riots, trade minister Mustapha Benbada began “demanding” that Cevital comply with the new pricing regulations introduced by the government on 8 January.

There was some confusion about the government's position, with El Watan reporting that “Benbada's strange order to Cevital” was inconsistent. “The same people who yesterday accused the group of raising prices, today accuse it of lowering them too much.” Cevital boss Issad Rebrab defended himself in Liberté, a newspaper which he owns, saying that he “strictly applied the agreement of 9 January”. The deal specified consumer prices of AD90 for a kilo of sugar and AD600 for a five litre container of olive oil, he argued, adding that Cevital has introduced lower prices to leave a margin for retailers.

The row may be in part a diversionary tactic on the part of the government, an attempt to deflect blame away from the state and towards the private sector, as well as an attempt by the regime to claw back market control for these two basic foods. There are those in the regime, particularly in President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's entourage who are keen to chip away at Rebrab's empire. As the newspaper Maghreb Emergent points out, Rebrab's relations with the president have been shaky for the past three to four years. The industry chief refused to support Bouteflika's bid for a second term in power in 2004.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

1 comment:

  1. wat is rabrab douig for the algerin piuopol
    and wat is his visons for the yougster of his contrie has rabrab started an academi of comers or promoted inisiative for his aun puipol let him remanber wer hi comfrom yougster in contrisaed of algirs hou ar couat brit and wiling
    tou start busnes or productions or servis related activity in partneship wed the algirian bos the dor of algerin magnet choudby open tou hangrie yougster hou well makhim richer litrely and inhans his reputations as the paour of goud in algeria