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Tunisia: Governance key concept of economic growth

One year after the Revolution, the new Tunisia has an overriding obligation to fight a relentless battle against corruption which poisoned the country from top to bottom in order to lay solid foundations of good governance. This is a big challenge for a country undergoing resuscitation and which needs, according to Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, to recover from the recession in which it has been trapped since the Revolution of January 2011. This challenge also requires all forces and actors of the civil society to join this fight.

Starting from this truth, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Tunisia has embarked on this process through an international conference on “Governance and Transparency in the Public Sector,” which it held on Thursday, May 3 in Tunis.

Organized in collaboration with several international organizations like the IFAC, IAASB and PAFA, this meeting that brought together leading experts and personalities from various foreign countries like the United States, Egypt, Mali, Lebanon, Libya, comes at a critical moment as several countries are facing a crisis that has impacted their economies and strongly affected the public and private sectors.

This situation clearly shows a poor governance and a lack of data and exchange of transparent information to resolve this crisis. This is why participants sought to highlight the strategic role of governance to minimize the effects of the crisis on economic development. This is a responsibility that falls on national and international stakeholders to address it.

In Tunisia, the mission remains clear especially in relation to the statements of foreign experts who keep on emphasizing the efforts made in recent times, especially in the field of accounting in order to establish the foundations of good governance to ensure the economic success of Tunisia.

Mohamed Al-Hajri, President of the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors noted in a statement to AfricanManager, that it is appropriate to consolidate this commitment that still depends on international standards to enhance transparency in the public sector which plays a vital role in economic growth. Indeed, available figures show that the public sector in Tunisia has improved in 2011 by 21MTD. The exploitation rate stood at 23 MTD and profits reached 964 MTD.

According to Mariano D’Amore, a member of the IPSASB, the implementation of international standards is important for the growth of an emerging country like Tunisia. “The state needs to have information about transactions and expenditures,” said D’Amore, adding that such action will impact decisions and policies.

Among these standards, he cited the implementation of IPSAS, a tool designed to provide adequate information while evaluating the different levels of good governance and improving management.

To achieve this goal, post-Revolution Tunisia can draw on other experiences of countries such as Lebanon to better prepare the economic, legal, administrative and social frameworks towards a better fight against corruption.

“Practices of good governance are the essence of democracy”

Governor of the Central Bank, Mustapha Kamel Nabli said in his speech that “often we think that democracy is synonymous with good governance. However, there is no less truth than that.”

According to him, the concepts of governance and transparency are among the key factors for the economic success of all countries and this, given the resulting institutional changes which provide reassurance to both citizens and investors and boost growth.

However, and despite the efforts made after the Revolution of January 14 and though the Bank’s independence has been strengthened thanks to a consensus among stakeholders, the challenge is far from being reached, according to the governor. Indeed, Nabli emphasized the role of the new Constitution which should contain, he said, the foundations and the necessary reforms to entrench best practices of good governance within national institutions, particularly in regard to such regulatory authorities as the Central Bank of Tunisia and the Financial Market Council.

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