The International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Thursday, affirmed a USD 2.9-billion loan to support Tunisia after positive signs in economic reforms.
At a press conference, IMF mission chief to Tunisia Amine Mati announced that the IMF has granted through its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) USD 2.9 billion over four years and affirmed that Tunisia has in the past three years advanced in its microeconomics stability, implemented a wide range of reforms to its public bank structuring and improved its business environment in general.
Despite those milestones, Mati said that several negative factors remain, including unemployment rate which “remains high despite improvement,” noting that among the youth, 15% remain unemployed.
He explained that Tunisia was able to keep inflation under control and balanced some deficits while others remain and the banking system still is fragile even with the recent bankruptcy law that was implemented early this month but also faces parliamentary opposition.
Those factors that need to be addressed “will take time, and thatآ’s why the board decided on this four-year EFF to support the government of Tunisia in the long standing issues,” he said instead of the Stand-By Arrangements (SBA) IMF programs which are for shorter period of times.
A SBA program has just expired with Tunisia after the IMF provided USD 1.74 billion loan in 2013 over two years.
The first installment of the new EFF to Tunisia of around USD 320 million out of eight in this loan was made available to Tunisia last week.