The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a 24-month Stand-By Arrangement for an amount equivalent to Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 1.146 billion (US$1.74 billion) to Tunisia to support the country’s economic reform programme during 2013-2015 period.
The IMF, in a statement made available to PANA in New York on Saturday, said that the arrangement was aimed at strengthening fiscal and external buffers and fostering higher inclusive growth.
It stated: “As a result of the Board’s decision, an amount equivalent to SDR 98.8 million (about US$150.2 million) is available for immediate disbursement, and the remaining amount will be phased in over the duration of the programme, subject to eight programme reviews.”
It noted that the Stand-By Arrangement entailed regular access to IMF resources, amounting to 400 per cent of Tunisia’s quota.
The statement quoted Ms. Nemat Shafik, IMF’s Deputy Managing Director and acting Board Chair, as saying that Tunisia had embarked on a moderate economic recovery while facing a challenging international economic environment and pursuing a political transition.
She said that a fragile banking sector, pressing social demands, widespread regional disparities and high unemployment were key challenges, together with widening external and fiscal deficits.
She said the Tunisian authorities had developed a comprehensive economic programme to address these challenges.
“The programme aims to strengthen fiscal and external buffers, while laying the building blocks for stronger growth and protecting the most vulnerable,” Ms. Shafik noted.
The IMF official also added that the authorities had already taken important measures to reduce vulnerabilities, notably through tighter monetary policy, greater exchange rate flexibility and reduced subsidy cost.