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Tunisia committed to economic reforms needed for loans -IMF

Tunisia committed to economic reforms needed for loans -IMF

Tunisia has expressed a firm commitment to making urgent economic reforms needed for it to qualify for another tranche of International Monetary Fund loans, the IMF said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based IMF reached a deal in 2016 to assist Tunisia with a four-year loan programme worth about $2.8 billion, tied to economic reforms aimed at keeping the country’s deficit under control.

“The discussions progressed significantly,” the IMF said in a statement after talks with the Tunisian government about an economic reform plan.

“Risks to macroeconomic stability have become more pronounced. Inflation reached 7.7 percent (year-on-year) in April, the highest level since 1991,” it added.

Tunisia has dropped into a deep economic slump following the overthrow in 2011 of autocratic leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Since then, nine governments have failed to cut the budget deficit. Tunisia needs $3 billion in foreign loans this year alone.

The talks with the IMF came as the ruling coalition has been at loggerheads over a new economic reforms program and the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said that the president’s son had destroyed the ruling Nidaa Tounes party and that the crisis in the party has affected state institutions.

The president’s son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, who is the leader of Nidaa Tounes, had called for the prime minister’s dismissal because of his government’s failure to revive the economy.

But the moderate Islamist party Ennahda refused to accept this change and said the exit of the prime minister would hit stability at a time when the country needed economic reforms.

Source: Reuters

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