Under the effect of a succession of economic, security, social and other developments, the GDP growth rate in Tunisia has constantly tumbling and is now reduced from 3% at the outset to a hopeless 1% now for the year 2015. Forecasters do not exclude that this rate plummets to zero and even less, if the economy failed to recover by the end of the year, which would make the bed of the recession.
Things are not moving in a direction that helps the country to limit as much as possible the damage and get out of the paralytic rut in which it is. It would be tedious to go through all the pitfalls that must be overcome as they are many and varied, but it will be of the utmost importance to bring back both domestic and foreign investors to reassure them and provide them a suitable business climate through which they can contribute to the recovery of the economy.
And this cannot go without the restoration of security that was seriously undermined by the devastating terrorist attacks that have scared away tourists while the country was preparing for the high season, but also the mitigation of social unrest with their train of strikes, sit-ins and protests at top speed.
In this architecture, the government seems paralyzed, certainly lacking imagination and above all firmness to acquire the means to carry out its policies provided that they are not ill-thought and marred by inconsistency. It is therefore not surprising that it has decided to revise downwards its growth rate expected for the full year 2015 from 3 to 1% as envisaged in the supplementary budget bill for the year 2015.
Essentially, the government has explained its decision by the impact of the two terrorist operations of Bardo (March 18, 2015) and Sousse (26 June 2015), on foreign investment and tourism revenues.
The government has also linked its decision to several other factors considered objective. These include, in particular, the decline in the growth rate in the first quarter 2015 (1.7% against 2.4% in the same period 2014) and social conflict, sit-ins and strikes). Added to that the rising exchange rate of the dollar against the dinar (2 dinars = US $ 1 // // March 11, 2015). So much so that at the end of June 2015, 1,939 dinar was traded against one dollar (estimated 1,800).
At the same time, the volume of imports recorded a decrease of 0.4% during the first half of 2015, in addition to the decline in the growth rate of imports of goods (excluding offshore and non-oil) which reached 2.6 %, against an estimated rate of 5%.
The supplementary finance bill a copy of which was seen by TAP emphasizes the need to revise the economic balances in general and public finance balances in particular and develop a support program through the establishment of exceptional provisions.
According to the same document, recoveries will reach 18,510 MTD by 2015, down 1,310 MTD, according to forecasts and 0.4% compared to 2014.
Non-tax revenues have been updated from 1,775 MTD to 2,642 MTD, up 867 MTD, while the income from debt has been discounted, reaching 6,934 MTD against 7,405 MTD estimated.
Regarding management expenditure for 2015, they reach 17,702 MTD against 17,970 MTD estimated, i.e. a gross drop of 268 MTD.
These results will, however, limit the level of the budget deficit to 4,372 MTD, or about 5% of the updated GDP, against 4,391 MTD provided under the supplementary finance bill, i.e. 4.9% of the public debt which is expected to exceed the threshold of 50% to 52.7% of GDP at the end of 2015.