A draft agreement between Tunisia and Italy on granting credit line for Tunisian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was signed in Tunis by Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Khemais Jhinaoui and Italy’s Ambassador in Tunis Pietro Benassi.
This agreement, worth 143 million dinars (73 million Euros) represents the closing stage of negotiations which started in 2005 between the two sides and aims to promote trade exchanges and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) between Tunisia and Italy.
It is meant to support the Tunisian private sector, boost SMEs’ role in the creation of new jobs and support firms’ creation in the underprivileged zones and inland regions.
This credit line could also serve for re-scheduling the private enterprises’ debt owed to banks, indicates a Foreign Ministry’s communiqué.
Italy’s Ambassador said that the credit line includes an 80 % donation at a 0% annual interest rate for a reimbursing period of 40 years, with a grace period of 31 years.
He reasserted his country’s will to accompany Tunisia in the democratic transition phase, on the bilateral level, as well as on the level of the European institutions in Brussels and the G8 countries.