The new parliamentary year in Angola began on Monday, October 16, with President João Lourenço addressing the nation regarding its state.
During his speech, President Lourenço rejected a request from the UNITA opposition party’s president to speak, stating, “Any citizen who wanted to make a speech on the state of the nation would be illegitimately exercising the powers that the constitution gives exclusively to the Head of State.”
In the first part of his speech, Lourenço primarily focused on economic issues and the state of Angola’s public finances. He also highlighted the progress achieved by his administration, which elicited both opposition protests and applause from lawmakers of the ruling MPLA party.
Joana Tómas, an MPLA MP, commented, “It was a speech that reflected the state of the nation as we are. The President’s speech covered various sectors, emphasizing ongoing and upcoming investments to be inaugurated by 2024.”
The President emphasized his commitment to reducing fuel subsidies and indicated the possibility of lowering VAT on specific products. However, these measures did not gain the approval of the opposition.
The opposition considered the President’s performance since last year’s elections to be lacking. They hoped for positive changes on the political, economic, and social fronts.
João Lourenço foresees a potential “slowdown in economic activity,” but he expects growth in the non-oil sector to compensate for it.
Angola’s National Assembly consists of 220 deputies, with the ruling MPLA party holding an absolute majority.