“Official figures for the first half of 2012 show a full recovery of the national economy, said Acting Finance Minister Slim Besbes in a statement to Africanmanager.
“Without question or hesitation, the current growth rate is at 3.3%, and it is a reality that cannot be denied.” This recovery, he said, has involved areas that have been already frozen since 2011, year of the Revolution, such as tourism, mining and phosphates.
The recovery has also affected other sectors such as industry and foreign direct investment (FDI) that have evolved with a growth that has exceeded the rate recorded in 2010. Indeed, a growth rate of 3.3% seems to be close to the objectives of the Government which seeks to achieve a growth rate of 4.5% in 2013 and therefore limit the budget deficit to 5 9% against 6.6% in 2012.
About investment, Slim Besbes told Africanmanager that Tunisia has recorded performances in several sectors except those related to export which have experienced some problems and some setbacks. These difficulties have already been observed since 2011, and were due to the ongoing crisis in the Euro zone, the first partner of Tunisia, which has directly impacted exports. The latter have not increased the way imports have done, he said.
That is why the Minister has recommended Tunisian companies to diversify their markets and seek opportunities in terms of competitiveness.
The Acting Minister of Finance also called on the local entrepreneurs to present their goods as substitute to Chinese products. According to him, Tunisia has comparative advantages over China, thanks to its proximity to Europe, its logistics and especially the responsiveness of its market, given the opportunity for Tunisia to meet demand in a smaller time compared to several other countries. This adjust, according to him, to the situation of financial crises where customers usually prefer a fast and well defined payment deadline which may be possible only for local markets, according to the minister.
On the draft State budget for 2013, Slim Besbes stated that the volume of the budget will reach 26.600 billion dinars against 25.401 billion dinars in 2012. The main resources of this draft budget will be divided between fiscal resources (16.650 billion dinars), non-tax revenues (3.200 billion dinars) and Islamic Sukuk (1 billion dinars). The government also plans to issue 1 billion dinars of Islamic bonds during the next year and this is the first time the country uses this growing sector to fund public borrowings. An amount of one billion dinars will be available from Islamic bonds in the 2013 budget.
Estimates of the 2013 state budget are based on the mobilization of own resources, improved fiscal performance, management of loan resources and adoption of a public debt management policy.
The budget requires mobilizing funds necessary for the implementation of structural reforms and strengthening, among other things, the competitiveness of the national economy.
The budget aims last but not least to improve the business climate, introduce tax incentives for public investment, support the national employment effort and provide guidance for people with low income.