Economic expert and former Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi gave Africanmanager an exclusive interview in which he estimated that a growth rate of 3% projected by Tunisia for 2015 would actually be problematic.
Dimassi also talked about the situation of instability and disruption experienced by the phosphate sector today, noting that the CPG has been dramatic, for over four years.
Tunisia lost about 0.7% of GDP in 2014, mainly due to strikes and blocking of production in the phosphate and mining sector. What do you think of that?
What has been taken place in the Gafsa Phosphate Company for over four years is dramatic for the country. The company has stepped into unmanageable financial trouble following the fall in phosphate production and world prices, on the one hand, and an excessive swelling of its his expenses following its superfluous anarchic recruitments, its thoughtless wage increases and, on the other hand, following the strong increase in transportation costs. At this rate, the company is threatened by bankruptcy that would plunge the region of the mining area in total squalor.
Dysfunction of the Company also altered most macroeconomic aggregates: sharp slowdown in GDP growth, amplification of the balance of trade deficit and worsening of the state budget deficit. Finally, this malfunction contributed to the disturbance of the balance of many other institutions such as banks and social security funds.
What are the effects of these losses on the national economy which is already facing a many challenges?
If a few months, the production of the Gafsa Phosphate Company will not recover at least the level of 2010, the GDP growth rate of 3% expected for 2015, would be really problematic.
What are according to you the priorities and economic issues that should be urgently addressed by the next government that will be in place in the coming days?
The next government would have to face hard and complex issues. Among the most important and urgent ones to be addressed the recovery of GDP growth to an acceptable level, minimizing the deficit of the state budget, the consolidation of public companies, reform of the social security system and the revitalization of the banking fabric.
In your opinion, how the new government will address it?
I would advise it after careful consideration to take the needed rescue and reform measures and apply them without recoil or hesitation.