August 17, 2017 / 11:10 AM / 2 years ago

Three ministers replaced in Algerian cabinet reshuffle

ALGIERS, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika nominated three new cabinet ministers on Thursday, two days after bringing back veteran loyalist Ahmed Ouyahia for a fourth term as prime minister.

The reshuffle included the appointment of Youcef Yousfi as minister for industry and mines, Mohamed Benmeradi as trade minister, and Abdelwahid Temmar as housing minister, according to a presidency statement.

Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni and Finance Minister Abderrahamane Rouia remain in place.

The changes are at a delicate time for Algeria, which is trying to adjust to a sharp fall in energy earnings that have put expansive public spending programmes at risk.

State revenues dropped from $60 billion in 2014 to $27.5 billion in 2016, pushing the government to freeze several projects, stop hiring some civil servants, and reduce imports.

Ouyahia’s predecessor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was dismissed after less than three months in the job.

Ouyahia is seen as a dependable and experienced operator now tasked with managing sensitive spending cuts and reducing Algeria’s bloated import bill. He had previously been serving as Bouteflika’s chief of staff.

The 80-year-old president has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

New Industry Minister Yousfi is a specialist in the hydrocarbons industry who has previously served as energy minister. His most recent post was as an energy advisor to the presidency. (Reporting By Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Alister Doyle)

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