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HomeFeatured NewsTunisia : The Employer Association is angry about the crisis !

Tunisia : The Employer Association is angry about the crisis !

« I want real things and not foecast » said Hédi Djilani addressing the members of the Union of Tunisian Industry, Commerce and Handicraft (UTICA), during the inauguration of the meeting of National Board of the employer association which dealt with «the impact of the international financial crisis on the Tunisian economy» Sturday in Tunis. The objective for the president of UTICA was to identify all the enterprises, the sectors and the regions which have been affected by this world crisis. This meeting was the opportunity for the industrialists to give their views on the impacts they perceived in many sectors in Tunisia, as well as suggest their potential solutions for the context.
The textile and the mechanical industries seem to be the most affected
For the representative of the region of Zaghouan, the crisis had,  until now, a “relatice” impact. The businessman said that some enterprises in the region informed him about their difficulties. He mentions the group « Outiliv » (Group specialised in manufacturing security belts for cars, and steering wheel covers), who dismissed 19 employees. According to him, the entirely export oriented enterprises established in the region started for two months reducing their working hours. The employer representative of the region of  Zaghouan, added that, however, all the enterprises are not affected. For example the group  «Talmitex » which did not register any fall in its turnover during the last few days, compared with the same period in 2007.  
Representing the sector of electronics and technical activities, Hichem Elloumi specified that this sector is related to the auto industry. According to him, the growth rate in Tunisian exports decreased by 4% compared with last year, falling from 30 % over the first nine months of 2007, to 26 % during the first nine months of this year. This fall was felt, added H. Elloumi, before the start of the crisis, and the figure for August and September show a decrease in car sales of respectively 15% and 9% in Europe. This fall can be explained by the fact that 50% of exports in the sector of electronic and electric industries, are in the automobile components. H. Elloumi also specified that the sector that he represents will be affected by the fall in consumption in Europe, including the consumption goods, but in contrast, this allowed many foreign investors in this sector to establish in different regions in Tunisia, this is the case of world N° 1 « Yazaki » who announced the creation of a production unit of electronic components for cars in the region of Gafsa. H. Elloumi also said that the new investments in Tunisia are not questioned, but some groups are redimentioning their projects, recommending to support foreign investments and help them to settle in Tunisia. The crisis remains an opportunity for improving the attractiveness of “the site Tunisia” for foreign investors, concludes H. Elloumi.
The crisis is a reality, we must manage it and not submit to it !
The representative of UTICA – Nabeul said that some enterprises which are affected by the crisis, registered a decrease in their orders, such as in the sector of automobile indutries and in the shoe industry and that many workers were dismissed in other sectors. According to Monia Jguirim, President of the Young Leaders Centre, the crisis has had a direct impact on  Young Leaders. She added that Tunisia had a well controlled financial system and an open economy, and “ this is why, the crisis has an impact even if it is indirect”. Monia Jguirim expresed her wish that the impact should be analysed so that Tunisia could « manage the crisis and not undergo it, through the united efforts of Tunisian finance specialists, economists and employers, the banking sector and the State representatives, in order to find better ways  to transform this crisis into an opportunity. Despite the effects of the drop in the Euro in front of the dollar and their repercussions on Tunisian product competitiveness, Monia Jguirim adds that she was optimistic and calls for the elaboration of a common action plan between all the economic actors, mainly the bankers and the employers to face the crisis.
 In the Tunisian Sahel, where tourism is a pillar of the economy in the region, the crisis repercussions did not yet have a direct impact, according to the representatives of the two regional unions of Monastir and Sousse. It is rather other sectors which have been affected, mainly the textile. Hence, in the region of Monastir, there are 963 enterprises in this sector, among which 672 are totally export (390 foreign ones), which create over 58.000 jobs. According to the representative of this region, 50% of these enterprises have not started work in a normal rhythm, and two important German groups closed due to the crisis and decreasing orders.
The solutions available are a social pact and solidarity
Some are optimistic, others are pessimistic, the industrialists and the representatives of UTICA remained positive, though. According to them, the textile sector, like other sectors, underwent various crises in the last few years, but in the end resolved their problems. These industrialists even agreed at unanimity about the possibilities to turn the crisis into a true opportunity for the Tunisian economy, but with some adjustments, mainly at the level of human resources.
Among the two choices identified after two hours of discussion between the employers, «resist in silence » or « dialogue and resistance », Hédi Djilani said he favoured «the family dialogue ». «Throw the ball in the camp of those who provoked the crisis is profitable to no one » added the employer of employers, to confirm that Tunisia is part of world in which every one has to do his best to cope with the crisis. The geographical position of Tunisia, its tight relations with foreign partners, mainly European, this is a choice that we do not regret and the small size of the Tunisian economy, are factors that make us affected by the crisis», underlines H. Djilani for whom the objective of the meeting was to identify a purely Tunisian analysis for the current context, in order to identify the existing problems and find the adequate solutions. For each negative situation, there is a positive aspect, adds H. Djilani who tries in this way to transfer his positivism to the other Tunisian employers and «the success opportunities are there». Hédi Djilani reassures that «Tunisia is psychologically prepared to this crisis, despite the recession to take place in Europe ». «Even if Tunisia may not register any increase in its exports, the objective will be to preserve the Tunisian and foreign enterprises and ensure their future» he added. When speakin about the « very special circumstances » affecting everyry body, Hédi Djilanicalled for a«social pact for peace in 2009 with the UGTT (Tunision trade Union), without strikes or factory occupation» in order to preserve a peace climate for Tunisian industrialists and send a strong message to foreign entrepreneurs. The State is also called, confirmed Hédi Djilani, to contribute to this effort through «the acceleration of some big projects planned for the coming years and which should start recruiting now and boosting the enterprises». The president of the Tunisian employer union affirmed that the enterprises will be affected to different dergees and that the first six months of 2009 will be difficult, and «this is why we should have high morale to fend off the effects of this crisis in all the sectors».

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