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[Published: Sunday July 20 2008]

Ivory Coast halves government pay

Abidjan , 21 July-(ANA)- TheIvory Coast government is halving the salaries of its ministers to pay for areduction in the price of fuel.

Prime Minister Guillaume Sorosaid the managers of state-owned companies would also have their pay cut inhalf, to pay for a 10% cut in fuel prices.

"Having heard thepeople's cry from the heart, the government has decided to cut the price offuel," Mr Soro said.

Following the announcement, aweek-long announcement strike by public transport workers has been called off.

On 7 July, Ivory Coastincreased diesel prices by 44% and petrol prices by 29%.

The government attributed theincrease to rising global oil prices.

Mr Soro said running costs andinvestments in government departments would also be cut to help cope with theextra expenditure.

Overseas trips by governmentmembers would also be reduced to a "bare minimum", he said.

Escalating food prices sparkedviolent protests in Abidjanin March and April, when housewives took to the streets banging pots and pans,youths built burning barricades and at least one man was killed.(ANA)

FA/ANA/21 July 2008---

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