Tunisia has officially requested IMF's aid

Fund: 'we will always remain strong partner'

19 November, 17:37

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, NOVEMBER 19 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has "recently" received a request for assistance from the new Tunisian government and technical discussions are ongoing "to define the country's economic priorities", the institution's spokesman, Gerry Rice, said on Thursday.

    "We have recently received from Tunisia, from authorities, a request for a new program supported by the International Monetary Fund", said Rice during a press conference. He added that "we have always been and will continue to be a strong partner of Tunisia". Echoing recent statements made by Jihad Azour, director of the department of the Middle East and central Asia of the IMF, during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, Rice stressed that technical discussions between the Fund and Tunisian authorities aim to "examine the possibility of starting a new program of funding in favor of Tunisia". "Discussions focus on the definition of economic priorities, of challenges to confront and reforms to implement in order to overcome the current crisis across the country". Rice was however unable to provide a schedule for negotiations.

    Tunisia is dealing with a grave economic crisis. The country's chronic instability is slowing down the enthusiasm of investors and donors.

    The instability is increased by the political crisis that started last summer, when President Kais Saied decided to fire the premier and suspend Parliament's activity. Last month, a new government with reduced prerogatives was approved. The economic crisis, characterized by reduced growth for 10 years, on average an annual 0.6%, was aggravated by the pandemic that blocked the country, draining it of fundamental revenues from tourism. To overcome the crisis, alongside with aid received in particular from the European Union, Tunis is appealing to the IMF for the fourth time in 10 years, in hopes of obtaining by the end of the year funding of nearly 4 billion dollars (3.3 billion euros).

    Meanwhile the government has approved an additional budget with an increased deficit of 38%, mostly due to an increase in oil prices and despite a diminution of public investments. The executive of Tunis aims to fill the deficit by increasing both internal and external dent, which means it is counting on obtaining aid from the IMF.(ANSAmed).

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