“The national economy has gone beyond the dangerous phase” that prevailed during the first quarter of 2011, marked by a negative growth rate of -3.3% The expected decline in the second quarter will be less cruel, but no greater than Zero pc, said Mustapha Kamel Nabli, Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT).
During a meeting held Friday between bankers and businessmen at the headquarters of UTICA, under the theme “companies and banks after the revolution,” the Governor of the Central Bank said that the contribution of the banking sector to the economy grew by 7% in the first five months of 2011, virtually the same growth in 2010 to 2,600 MTD (4% to cover loans that were not repaid and 50 pc under new funds for investment and management).
The annual growth rate of these loans would be about 16 to 17%.
BCT injected cash worth 3,000 MTD for the benefit of local banks to enable them to contribute to the revival of economic activity, he said.
To achieve the expected recovery, Mr. Nabli stressed the need to reduce the effects of the recession period (first half) and preserve the economic base, while giving a strong impetus to economic activity.
The role of business is critical during this phase, which requires more rigor and vigilance to ensure the country’s transition in the best conditions, he argued.
Marginalization felt by businessmen is the result of the difficult period the country went through, during which the political and security issues had prevailed.
The Governor of the BCT stressed, in this regard, the need for continued economic growth over the next two years to accelerate the process of democratic transition in the country.
During the debate, several businessmen voiced outrage at the promulgation of the decree on amnesty on bad checks, fearing the decree on the legal profession.
They discussed the pressures on the labor market due to the closure of a number of companies and the increase in the number of unemployed people, recommending promoting bank financing to facilitate investment, particularly in the regions.
Other interventions have focused on the delay in compensation for affected businesses, following acts of looting and fires that occurred during the Revolution. They called for coordination between the central and regional authorities in this field.
Mr. Habib Ben Saad, Chairman of the Professional Association of Tunisian Banks and Financial Institutions and CEO of “Banque de Tunisie” said in turn that distributive trade, sector most affected, has almost resumed its activities through the intervention of banks.
Mrs. Samira Ghribi, CEO of STB denied the existence of financial hardships for “société tunisienne des banques” which continues to stand in the first place in financing the economy and second in bank profitability. The bank’s contribution to the economy has rose by 8.1% in the first half of 2011.
For her part, Ms. Wided Bouchamaoui, Chairman of the Tunisian Union of Industry and Trade (UTICA) advocated the organization of biannual meetings between companies and banks, to examine the development of the country’s economic growth and discuss ways to strengthen ties between companies and banks.