The rain has voted “Jbali & Ennahdha,” who could perhaps rely on a good farm year, if all goes well, to save what can be the first of this term. It is common knowledge that a good agricultural season (especially wheat and olive, the one for import and the second for export), could alone provide 1 to 1.5 points of growth, which will not be a bad thing for Tunisia after the Revolution.
Given the inaction of the Jbali’s Government, rain has frozen and turned into snow and to a real social problem.
Angered by the inaction of this government, snow and rain overflowed, certainly increasing the water reserves in dams, but also bringing about anger in the affected areas and giving rise, by the way, to a social problem. The image and its political implications could say a lot!
And at a time when social problems of The Tunisian Northwest culminated with flooding in parts of Tunisia, the issue of cost of living emerged as prices soared and inflation reached a high but not unprecedented level, since it had exceeded this ceiling of 5.1% in 2010.
This inflation was coupled with a surge in margins in wholesale markets and a low supply of markets in certain commodities that even became scare on the shelves in Tunisia, because of uncontrolled exports to the Libyan market.
The solution rested, indeed, with hypermarkets
As we wrote, the solution of the problem of soaring prices in a market where some 80% of the margins have been free for years depended irrevocably on hypermarkets and mainly corporate chain of hypermarkets and supermarkets.
These are organized into large purchasing groups that have enormous bargaining power with manufacturers and even on the wholesale markets where they are sourcing. The Department of Trade has finally understood and tried, successfully, to operate this lever to depress prices.
“A steady supply of some products and pricing reference, in hyper and supermarkets, are the main decisions taken last Saturday at the Government Palace in Tunis, during a meeting between the Minister Delegate for Trade, Bechir Zaafouri and the CEOs of hypermarkets, in the presence of ministers delegated to the Prime Minister.
The meeting focused on the contribution of hyper and supermarkets to the fight against the high cost of living. The measures adopted should be applied, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, from the beginning of next week, with the aim to combat rising prices and to preserve the purchasing power of citizens, reported TAP news agency.
It was also agreed at that meeting to establish a joint committee between representatives of hypermarkets and supermarkets and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who will, from Monday, February 20, set up a program to curb rising prices, by fixing reference prices for certain products and ensuring regular evaluation of this program, “also indicates the agency.
Will the government succeed?
If this whole process is successful and the CEOs of supermarkets keep their word and actually decrease prices, leading the rest of the distribution channels to follow them and accordingly to structural decline in prices and margins, the government of Hamadi Jbali would have succeeded, it must be said, in one of the toughest economic challenges after the Revolution.
Jbali and his government will then have the respite needed to develop their economic program and present it to Tunisians, in a socially more peaceful atmosphere. This will also prevent them from making use of the other level, which is financially more expensive, namely import as an element regulating market prices in this market.
This first success of the government of Jbali, involving prices, however, remains largely impeded by the success of Interior Minister Ali Laaridh and law enforcement officers to enforce the law in cross border trade.
Far quicker so far to use the threat of deterrent and to accuse the press of being behind all the misfortunes of Tunisia, Ali Laaridh now holds in his own hands the solution to this price war waged [against him by border traffickers of all kinds] the “trabendistes” (smugglers in Algeria jargon) of all the Tunisian economy.