Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Set to Rule by Decree on Economic Issues

Lawmakers in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, approved powers allowing President Alassane Ouattara to issue decrees on economic and social decisions this year in a bid to quicken the pace of development.

The bill for so-called rule by ordinance was approved by 178 lawmakers, Sarah Sakho Fadika, first vice-president of the National Assembly, said in Abidjan, the commercial capital, today. Four voted against and one abstained, she said. The coalition that backed Ouattara in the 2010 presidential election has a majority in parliament.

The move aims “to give the president the means to achieve his economic and social program,” Yves Ibrahima Kone, president of the parliament’s economic and financial affairs commission, told lawmakers before the vote. Ouattara is seeking growth in the $24 billion economy of 9 percent this year from 9.8 percent in 2012, according to the Finance Ministry.

Ivory Coast is recovering from a five-month crisis sparked by a disputed presidential election in November 2010. Cocoa and coffee exports halted and banks and businesses closed during the standoff that left at least 3,000 people dead.

The International Monetary Fund, which along with the World Bank wrote off $4.4 billion of Ivorian debt last year, said in a statement on March 27 there have been delays in “restructuring the public sector, in regularizing domestic debt and in adopting a new electricity code.”

The president’s decrees will still need to be ratified later in the year by the National Assembly, according to a draft of the bill handed to reporters.

Yields on Ivory Coast’s $2.5 billion Eurobonds due December 2032 declined for a fifth day, falling 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, to 6.72 percent by 3:43 p.m. in Abidjan.

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