Tunisian government announces measures to boost economy

Investing in the new sustainable development model

04 January, 13:16

    (ANSAmed) - TUNISI, 04 GEN - The Tunisian executive has presented a development program for 2023-2025 that aims to invest in the private sector, re-boosting the production of phosphates, once a flourishing sector and a "greener" agriculture. This plan "favors a sustainable development model" to re-establish an economic equilibrium and contrast the increasing poverty that concerns 20% of 12 million Tunisians, as indicated to the press by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Samir Saied.

    The new development model, said the Minister, tries to promote an entrepreneurial environment, by supporting entrepreneurship and investments in promising sectors, strengthening social and solidarity economy while strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors.

    It also helps to promote investments in green and circular economy, implementing programs and political policies to tackle the informal economy, reduce bureaucratic obstacles and abolishing authorizations. These guidelines, underscored the Minister, are aimed in particular at increasing the rate of economic growth and at creating wealth, guaranteeing an equal distribution among the different social sectors and regions. The crisis was made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and its repercussions on the country's growth. A series of measures were put in place to boost the national economy, to identify solutions for public and private projects which has been blocked and to accelerate the production rate, added Saied.

    The country, whose coffins are empty and is heavily in debt, waits for the final go-ahead of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new loan of approximately 2 billion dollars, which should unlock additional foreign aid. In its new 2023-25 strategy, the government wants to be "realistic and cautious", indicated Saied, who for example foresees a slow decrease of the unemployment rate to 14% in 2025 against a 15% rate in 2022. The program, whose different chapters have been introduced by the single competent Ministers in the Najla Bouden government, forecasts a modest growth of 2.1% in 2023 (in 2022 it was 1.8%).

    In reach this objective, the program focuses on public "necessary" investments of 12.3 billion dollars (between 2023-25), of which 8.7 billion will the channeled through the State's balance and 3.6 billion through public firms.

    This program also invests on the increase of investments in the private sector, "the engine of growth" in Tunisia, hoping to reach nearly 60% of total investments within three years. This will require, according to Saied, "an improved entrepreneurial environment". In addition, public-private partnerships will be facilitated and supported. A large part of investments will be directed to the industrial sector, whose impact on the economy should increase from 15% of the GDP in 2022 to 18% in 2025, with an increase of exports estimated to be around12 and 18 billion dollars per year. The development plan also foresees an increase in the production of phosphates, one of the few natural resources in the country, which fell dramatically over the last ten years due to social unrest and corruption. It should increase from the current 3.7 million tons per year to 5.6 million tons per year in 2023 and double to 12 million tons in 2025. In order to promote a "greener" agriculture, authorities will encourage innovation through start-ups specialized in recycling water and fighting drought, particularly present in the south and center of the country. The Tunisian government will also invest on energy transition authorizing the exploitation of agricultural land to produce electric power from renewable sources (sun and wind). The three year plan also foresees an improvement of the social safety nets, for example, with an indemnity for families that take care of an elderly who is alone and investing in education such as schools offering a second opportunity for those who abandoned school. (ANSAmed).

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