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Tunisian Government Reveals ‘Shocking’ Economic Figures

Tunisian Government Reveals ‘Shocking’ Economic Figures

Friday, 26 June, 2020 - 10:30
The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have severely affected the Tunisian economy. Reuters file photo

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh has warned that the country’s economic situation has taken a serious turn.

In a parliamentary session on Thursday to assess the outcome of the government’s first 100 days in office, Fakhfakh said “the next battle is to save the state” from the pandemic’s implications and the almost full economic paralysis it has left behind.

He gave shocking figures on the country’s economic situation.

According to the Premier, the country's economy would contract by around six percent this year, as public companies flounder.

“All state enterprises are in bankruptcy,” he stressed.

Gross Domestic Product was on course to contract by six percent this year, he announced, noting also that in recent discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, these institutions have begun working on the basis of a 6.8 percent contraction this year.

Fakhfakh expected the number of the unemployed to amount to 131,000, added to about 630,000 others awaiting job opportunities.

He said key sectors would be hit hard, including tourism, textiles, aircraft components, traditional industries, hotels and restaurants, pointing out that they will suffer hugely until at least 2022.

To face the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, Fakhfakh explained that the government has made 1.1-million-worth of financial grants for poor families, and distributed 300,000 aid packages.

“The state has also provided salaries to 460,000 workers, merchants and craftsmen, to maintain job opportunities for the period between April and June.”

He said public debt would hit the “terrifying level” of 92 billion dinars ($33.5 billion), adding that the size of the state’s external debt amounted to more than 60 percent.

The Prime Minister pledged that this rate would not increase, affirming that Tunisia will not seek any new loan, and instead rely on its own national resources.

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