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Tunisia: Accessions to Upgrading Program on the rise

Companies are increasingly joining the Tunisian Upgrading Program. During the first 7 months of 2009, they were 198 to be involved in this program, against just 112 during the corresponding period of 2008 and 142 for the same period of 2007, according to statistics rereleased by the Upgrading Office.  In doing so, the decline in  accessions registered in 2008 is clearly bridged over this year, which is marked by a  real surge.  In a situation marked by the repercussions of the global crisis, companies are anxious to upgrade in order  to meet the challenges of competition once  the crisis is over.

The Steering Committee of the Upgrading Program (Copil) has approved additional projects that go up from 123 to 136. The same trend is checked regarding the volume of approved investments, up from 189 million dinars for the first 7 months of 2007, to 279 MD for the same period of 2008, and 310 MD for first 7 months of 2009.

By sector, that of building materials, ceramics and glass records the most important rise in terms of upgrading investment, so that between the first 7 months of 2008 and those of 2009, approved investments have more than doubled while the value of grants awarded was multiplied by 2.7.

The agro food sector also recorded a doubling of its investment during the first 7 months of 2009 compared to 2008.

However, in the Mechanical and Electrical Industries (EMI), decline in investment is clear, moving down from 48 MD in 2007 to 61 MD in 2008, and to 41 MD in 2009.

The textile and clothing sector is keeping roughly the track, registering a sharp upturn in terms of applications approved; even if a slight drop was recorded in overall volume of investments green lighted (53 MD for the first 7 months of 2009 versus 54 MD in 2008 and 47 MD in 2007).

Buoyant PTI

Designed as a resort of emergency called to anticipate or to restart properly the Upgrading program, the mechanism of Priority Technological Investments (PTI) enjoyed during the first 7 months of 2009, good outfit that seems to mark a renewed interest in this easy access mechanism that enables businesses to stopgap amid a juncture marked by opacity outlook and the need for increased reactivity to market requirements.

The number of PTI files and  the global volume of approved investments and bonuses granted scored, during those 7 months of 2009, good progress compared to the first 7 months of 2008.

Premiums awarded record an evolution of 25%, while investments increased by over 10% as the number of files rose by 6%..

This good performance is combined with a clear trend towards the prevalence of intangible investment in relation to tangible investment. Thus the share of intangible investment continues to rise continuously since it was initiated in 2006.

Thus, the share of intangible investment grew from 59% in first 7 months of 2008 to 63% for first 7 months of 2009. This share was 44% in 2005 and 57% in 2006. The same trend is noted regarding the awards granted under the intangible investment, which grew  for the first 7 months, from 66% of total premiums in 2008 to 68% in 2009.

Recognizing the growing importance of intangible investment to control the modern productive processes, the Tunisian company seems to engage in a salutary shift in this field. The interest represented by  an investment in intangible, human resources and coaching are  more obvious through effects on  technologies mastery , improving value added and productivity in general.

By sector, as far as PTI is concerned, chemical industries are on the rise (up 71% in terms of number and 48% in terms of volume), as well as building materials, ceramics and glass (doubling of the number of firms and investment), and textile and clothing (10% in number of companies) which accounts for more than 40% of total investment priority. Finally, the sector of engineering industries, second recipient in terms of  number and volume shows a dramatic shift in  its investment priorities which reached 88%, despite a small decrease in the number of companies involved in PTI.

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