Needs to financing projects, as part of the 12th Plan, are estimated at 120 billion dinars which will be ensured at 73. % by national savings, and it is important to count on the country’s own resources and reduce, as much as possible, resorting to external indebtedness, said Development and International Co-operation minister Mohamed Nouri Jouini in a debate aired by “Tunis 7” television channel and the National Radio.
The debate turned on the objectives set by the 12th Development Plan (2010-2014) which forecasts an average annual growth rate of 5.5% and development of the buoyant sectors with strong technological and employability contents.
The minister announced that an international consultancy office will be selected, during the coming period, to devise a digital economy and outsourcing strategy.
He said that State efforts will focus, during the coming five years, on boosting investments in the innovative sectors and raising the number of graduates in the scientific and technical specialties up to 39,000 by 2014, against 26,000 in 2009.
Several participants asked for clarifications on the key projects scheduled in regions during the 12th Development Plan (2010-2014), suggesting that the regions be granted further prerogatives in working out and carrying out these projects; the ultimate target being to adapt these projects to the regions’ peculiarities and their potentialities.
The minister pointed out that, during the five-year period (2010-2014), the integrated development programmes will be completed and will benefit 90 priority delegations with a population of some 2.7 million inhabitants, in addition to the implementation of a new strategy aimed to improve living conditions in the border zones through the creation of viable projects meant to diversify the economic base and generate permanent jobs.
Shedding light on the programmes to be initiated in the renewable energies development, the minister spoke of the Tunisian Solar Programme (PST) and announced that an international research firm will be tasked with conducting a study on environment-friendly economic activities.
He reminded that in terms of environment protection, Tunisia is bound by conventions with such advanced countries as Japan, Spain, Germany and France.
The attendees also took a special interest in Tunisia’s international co-operation and foreign economic relations.
They asked for clarifications on four files, namely, the impact of the euro zone crisis on the Tunisian economy, progress the Tunisian-European negotiations on the advanced-partner status, Tunisia’s access to new foreign markets and the development of technical co-operation.
Regarding the first file, Mr. Jouini pointed to the capacity, internationally acknowledged, of Tunisia to resist the exogenous shocks and react positively to changes, insisting that it is normal that the euro zone crisis impact the Tunisian economy, 75% of whose foreign exchanges are carried out with the European Union (EU), the country’s main partner.
The minister underlined that Tunisia strives to diversify its trade partners and economic exchanges with other world countries and zones, with a view not to being dependent on one economic partner.
As to negotiations between Tunisia and the EU on the advanced-partner status, the minister said that Tunisia’s proposals have been favourably received by the European Community.
On technical co-operation, Mr. Jouini said that some 10,000 Tunisian executives presently work abroad as part of technical co-operation, and the high-level qualification of Tunisian guest-workers encouraged several multinationals to co-operate with Tunisia as part of three-cornered co-operation.
The minister called on all concerned sides, government, civil society, citizens to mobilise their energies to achieve the targets of the 12th Development Plan, in line with the orientations set by the Presidential Programme “Together We Meet Challenges.”