Tunisia has raised fuel prices by 4 percent, the third hike this year as the government seeks to a cut budget deficit, a key requirement of international lenders, the energy ministry said.
The price of a liter of petrol will rise to 1.925 Tunisian dinars ($0.741) from 1.85 dinars, starting Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. The two previous increases this year were in March and January.
The International Monetary Fund urged Tunisia this year to raise energy prices and the retirement age to help curb the budget deficit and said any further public wage hikes would be difficult to sustain given weak growth.
Fuel subsidies this year will rise from an expected 1.5 billion dinars ($578 million) to 4 billion dinars with the rise of world oil prices, economic reforms minister Taoufik Rajhi said earlier this month. Tunisia has forecast that the budget deficit will fall to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, from about 6 percent in 2017.
In other economic news, the Tunisian Ministry of Trade and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) signed on Thursday in Tunis a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the capacity of Tunisian export institutions.
The agreement, inked by Minister of Trade Omar El Behi and Alistair Burt, UK Minister of State for the Middle East and Minister of State at the Department for International Development, aims to further expand trade links between the two countries through enhancing the value of Tunisian goods and services exported.
Activities planned under this MoU aim to strengthen the capacity of the Export Promotion Center (CEPEX) in terms of strategic promotion and business intelligence.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, held at the CEPEX headquarters, el Behi emphasized the importance of bilateral co-operation, adding that Tunisia is a gateway to the African market.
"From July 2018, Tunisia will become a permanent member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)," he pointed out.
Burt also spoke of opportunities to foster cooperation between the two countries.
He said Tunisia should take advantage of Britain’s exit from the European Union.