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Tunisia: positive indicators of industrial sector

Exports of the manufactured industries posted a growth of 10.4% in the seven months of 2011, compared to the same period of 2010, said Director General of the Manufactured Industries Kamel Oueslati.

He said at the periodic meeting with the press held on Friday in Kasbah that investment intentions valued at 2,000 million dinars (MTD) increased by 22% in 2011. Fifty-six percent of these investments are for regional development areas with a value of 1,100 MTD.

The official at the Industry Ministry said investment in these regions posted a growth of 38% in addition to the development noted in the creation of industrial companies (+13%). Regarding industrial upgrading, positive results were recorded with a rising number of companies joining the National Upgrading Program.

The director general underlined that the establishment of an online platform to join the program allowed 70 companies to adhere to this program in two months.

Regarding upgrading bonuses, they reached 25 MTD in the first seven months of 2011, out of a total of 40 MTD allocated to the upgrading program for 2011.

He outlined difficulties faced by the industrial sector in the post-Revolution period, particularly sit-ins and social claims that have damaged several industrial activities, despite the wage increases decided.

The number of files of damaged businesses submitted to the Ministry reached 270, he said. These businesses suffered direct damage (vandalism, arson and looting) or indirect one (sit-ins and strikes).

The committee in charge of this file in the ministry has found solution to 32 files which received compensation of 17 MTD, likely to allow those businesses to resume their activities. Regarding the indirect effects, 133 companies were affected by the sit-ins.

They were unable to be supplied in raw materials and could not meet their commitments to their clients (local and exports markets) which will lead to a loss of opportunities.

Thus, companies working under sub-contracting risk to see their contracts with their mother companies terminated.

Files of these companies are treated at the level of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and as part of the decree on temporary measures.

So far, 30 files have been treated by the committee created within the Ministry to this effect. The state paid 500 thousand dinars to allow these companies resume their activities.

Mr. Oueslati cited in this context the example of the Enfidha Cements Company (SCE) whose production stopped because of sit-ins that have been held for fifty days at the Ain Mdhekra quarry while the company honored its commitments (granting of 250-dinar bonuses for over 600 families, in addition to the fitting out of a primary school in the region).

He reminded of the closing of the “Afripaper” plant in Kairouan since last March because of the sit-in that pushed the Tunisian investor to transfer his equipment to the mother company in the Governorate of Sousse, causing the loss of 415 jobs in the region, he added.


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