Angola's parliament calls for sharing new oil wealth

Oct 15, 2008 02:00 AM

Angola's ruling party called for greater fairness in the distribution of the country's massive oil wealth in the first parliamentary session since landmark elections in September.
"The people expect the government to act in the fight against poverty and the improvement of the quality of life for Angolan citizens and families," ruling party chief whip Bornito de Sousa told parliament. "We expect greater equality in the wealth redistribution and extension of business opportunities."

Since the end of the 27-year war, Angola's fortunes have changed rapidly as the nation now rivals Nigeria as Africa's leading oil exporter. Economic growth -- at just 3.3 % in 2003, the year after the war ended -- is set to top 20 % this year. However, more than two-thirds of its people live on less than $ 2 a day.
The ruling MPLA won 81 % of the vote in September while the main opposition party UNITA won only 10 % in the first legislative elections in 16 years, following the end of the devastating civil war.

The session opened with speeches from the four parties represented in the parliament with MPs praising the peacefulness of the election. But UNITA said the true national reconciliation would come with "social peace."
"Social peace means jobs for all, education for all and equal opportunities for all," said Alda Sachiambo, UNITA's chief whip.

She also called on "all Angolans to accept each other, regardless of political affiliation."
Parliament's first major act is expected when lawmakers convene to discuss the approval of the 2009 national budget.

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