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Tunisia: BH, STB will not be privatised

There is no question to privatise state-owned banks “Banque de l’Habitat” (BH) and “Société Tunisienne de Banque” (STB) or to layoff their employees, Spokesman for the interim Government Nidhal Ouerfelli said Friday in Kasbah.

He added in a statement to the press after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa that a new strategy of state intervention in the banking sector will be launched over six months from May to October 2014 to later undertake the effective reform of the banking sector.

He said that privatisation was deemed inefficient to reform the sector, hence the decision to move towards strengthening public-private partnership between Tunisian banks.

Ouerfelli stressed that the new strategy, decided for the first time in Tunisia’s history, seeks to restructure the banking sector to help create jobs, pick up the rate of private investment, support the national economy, allow SMEs to access financing sources and back micro-financing.

The strategy revolves around four axes: rationalisation, pragmatism, progressiveness and efficient intervention of the banking sector in financing the national economy.

The government spokesman said this reform strategy is based on a new structure of state intervention in financing the economy based on a new governance of the banking sector and public-private partnership.

This strategy comes after a comprehensive audit of public banks (STB and BH) and pending the finalisation of the audit of the “Banque Nationale Agricole” (BNA).

The reform of the banking sector is tied to that of Tunisian public companies, since public banks are the main donors of these companies, the government spokesman pointed out.

The new strategy of state intervention in the banking sector was developed through a participatory approach, in consultation with all stakeholders in the banking sector in Tunisia which all agreed on the need for a new reform.

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