Ivory Coast tackles price crisis

Prime minister announces plan to halve ministers' salaries and cut fuel costs.

    Soro said the moves would help combat
    food and fuel price inflation [AFP]

    "We have decided to cut the basic salaries of all members of government by half," he said, adding that overseas trips by government members would also be reduced to the "bare minimum".

    This was necessary as new transport subsidies would cost the state an additional 300 million euros annually, he said.

    Last week, the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast's economic heart, was crippled by a transport strike over fuel prices increases.

    On July 7, Ivory Coast hiked diesel prices by 44 per cent and petrol prices by 29 per cent.

    The government attributed the increase, the first since July 2005, to rising global oil prices and the cost of state subsidies to maintain domestic oil prices at manageable levels.

    Ivory Coast, a former French colony, is the world's leading cocoa grower and an economic success story in West Africa.

    The country was divided by a September 2002 coup attempt against President Laurent Gbagbo.

    After a peace accord agreed between the two sides in March 2007, a unity government was installed earlier this year with Laurent Gbagbo, the president, sharing power with former rebel leader Soro.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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