IMF staff concludes mission to Tunisia with good progress

An International Monetary Fund staff has concluded its mission to Tunisia with good progress.

According to a statement, the Tunisian authorities and the IMF staff made good progress on the parameters of the authorities’ economic policies and reforms to be supported by an IMF programme.

It added that discussions will continue over the coming weeks.

“Discussions on a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to support the authorities’ economic policies and reforms have been productive. They will continue over the coming weeks towards reaching a staff-level agreement. As is always the case, final agreement on a programme arrangement would be subject to approval of the IMF’s Executive Board”.

“The authorities are making important progress with their economic agenda, coordinating well across ministries and agencies around a shared vision that is sound. It is now critical to accelerate implementation of this agenda”, it explained.

The Tunisian economy is suffering from the economic impact of the Ukraine war that came as a major external shock on top of the Covid-19 pandemic. These pressures add to the economy’s underlying structural weaknesses.

The near-term outlook is challenging, as growth will likely decelerate while higher international prices for energy and food are adding to already high inflation and are increasing fiscal and external deficits and debt. This require urgent measures to reduce these imbalances in a socially sustainable manner.

“We welcome the openness of the government and social partners for a constructive dialogue on implementing a socially-conscious and growth-friendly economic program. We hope that social partners and other important stakeholders can unite around this effort. Broad buy-in will be essential to accomplish the urgent task of reducing macroeconomic imbalances, shore up stability, and support the job-creating growth that is required to activate the substantial economic potential of Tunisia for the benefit of all Tunisians”, the Fund said

“The international community will need to again play an important role in facilitating the authorities’ program through the rapid release of financing. This will be indispensable to ensure the success of the authorities’ policy and reform effort”, it added.

The mission met with Head of Government, Najla Bouden Romdhane; Minister of Finance, Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia; Minister of Economy and Planning, Samir Saïed; Minister of Social Affairs, Malek Zahi; Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Neila Nouira Gongi and Minister of Commerce and Export Development, Fadhila Rebhi Ben Hamza.

Others are Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fishing, Mahmoud Elyes Hamza; Minister of Health, Ali Mrabet; Minister of Technology and Communication, Nizar Ben Neji; Minister of Transport, Rabi Majidi; Minister of Environment, Leila Chikhaoui; Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Moez Belhassine, Central Bank of Tunisia Governor, Marouane El Abassi, as well as staff.

It also held discussions with the UGTT labor union and the UTICA and CONECT employers’ federations, civil society, development partners, and the diplomatic community.

The mission thanked the Tunisian authorities and all those with whom it met for their warm welcome and the frank and productive discussions.