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Tunisia: 1% growth and 650, 000 unemployed in 2011

The Tunisian economy is able to achieve this year a growth rate that could reach from 0.2% to 1%, said Minister of Planning and International Co-operation Abdelhamid Triki.

To achieve such growth rate (1%), the Minister said it is necessary to resume the pace of activities of three sectors in difficulty, namely oil and derivatives, phosphates and cement. It is also necessary to improve the pace of domestic and foreign investment, he also said.

Speaking to journalists at a news briefing held Thursday in Tunis, Mr. Triki said the State had allocated 1,600 million dinars of the total mobilized external funding resources estimated at about 1,851 million dinars and this to assist economic recovery and improve the growth rate.

With regard to investment in general, Mr. Triki showed “optimism” given the industrial investment intentions which reached 22.2% and the increase in the latter’s pace in development regions to 38.4%.

The Minister, however, expects a 5% decrease in investment for the whole year 2011, saying, in this connection that the volume of foreign investment could be reduced to 2,000 million dinars compared to 3,000 million dinars expected for this year.

Regarding the public sector, Mr. Triki pointed to the amelioration in the pace of achievement of projects and improvement in the deadlines of implementation in the first months of 2011. On employment, the Minister said that 16,000 permanent jobs in the public sector will be created this year.

Despite this, the unemployment rate will rise to 16.3% compared to 13.3% in 2010 and the number of the unemployed could reach 650,000 persons by the end of 2011, the Minister said.

On another level, Mr. Triki noted that with the 5.7% deficit of the external payment balance expected in late 2011 and the State budget deficit estimated at 5.1%, additional needs in external funding sources will amount to 3,500 million dinars.

Returning to sectors facing difficulty, the Minister reminded of the decline in oil production (14.4%), that of phosphates (54%) and cement (6.4%), in addition to the 47% drop in the number of overnight stays.

In contrast, positive results were recorded by other sectors. Thus, power production increased by 1.9% and a good cereal harvest estimated at 23 million quintals was recorded, in addition to good indicators in the areas of telecommunications, trade and transport. These indicators will help reduce to 1.6% the fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second half of 2011.


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