The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday announced its agreement in principle to give Tunisia a loan of US$225 million as part of the fourth phase of a loan agreement signed between the two parties in June last year, for a total amount of US$1.7 billion.
The announcement was made by the IMF mission chief, Amine Mati, who was speaking at a news conference the end of his visit to Tunisia.
He said that the IMF board of directors would hold a meeting in April to examine the report presented by his delegation related to Tunisia’s economic situation and the structural reforms introduced in the economic, financial and social domains.
Mr Mati said that Tunisia’s economic situation was stable, particularly with the growth that did not exceed 2.6% last year and which remained insufficient to meet the social needs expressed by citizens. In that respect, he announced that the growth rate will not exceed 2.8% at the end of this year.
The IMF mission announced a rise in the inflation rate, which in February was about 5.5%, but was expected to be stable thanks to the stagnation of the prices of foodstuffs.
To face the huge challenges which Tunisia was facing, immediate and emergency actions were needed to control the budget deficits, reduce vulnerabilities in the banking sector and generate higher and inclusive growth that could absorb unemployment and reduce the country’s social and economic inequalities, said the IMF delegation chief.
The governor of the Tunisian central bank, Chadly Al-Abri, and the Tunisian minister of Economy and Finance, Hakim Ben Hamouda, were present at the news conference.
The governor of the Tunisian central bank said that the preliminary agreement would positively influence Tunisia’s other economic partners.
He said that missions from the World Bank recently visited Tunisia with positive results. In that respect the World Bank agreed to give Tunisia a US$1.2 billion loan for this year. It also agreed to give Tunisia a one billion-dollar loan per year over the next three years.