21.9 C
Brunei
Sunday, November 27, 2022
21.9 C
Brunei
Sunday, November 27, 2022
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    IMF and crisis-hit Tunisia reach deal on USD1.9B loan

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Tunisian government have reached a tentative agreement to unblock a USD1.9 billion loan as the North African country faces grave economic and political challenges.

    Under the four-year accord, the Tunisian government – hit by growing public protests at home amid shortages of food and fuel – has committed to undertake a “comprehensive economic reform programme” as it gets access to the money, according to an IMF statement on Saturday. Those reforms would include steps to extend taxation to the informal economy, to provide greater public-sector transparency and to phase out “wasteful price subsidies” while expanding social safety nets.

    The agreement in principle, reached between IMF staff and Tunisian authorities meeting this week in Washington, still requires the approval of the Fund’s board, which is scheduled to discuss the matter in December.

    Earlier Saturday, thousands of people poured into the streets of Tunis to protest the policies of President Kais Saied, who seized power last year in what critics say was a coup, and whom many blame for the country’s economic crisis.

    Pressures both from the deteriorating global economic environment and from high commodity prices “are weighing heavily on the Tunisian economy, adding to underlying structural weaknesses amid challenging socioeconomic conditions”, IMF staff members Chris Geiregat and Brett Rayner said in a statement.

    They headed the IMF team that met this week with Tunisian officials in Washington.

    Supporters of the Tunisian Ennahda party wave national flags and raise placards during a demonstration against President Kais Saied in the capital Tunis. PHOTO: AFP
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