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Tunisia : Where does money come from and where does it go?

Upon instructions of the Tunisian Head of State, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi presented on Saturday, November 22nd 2008, to the Parliament, the declaration of the government on the State budget project for 2009.

Hence, it is planned, according to the declaration of the prime minister, to realise by the end of the year, a growth rate of 5,1 % at constant prices. A rate qualified as «satisfactory», and which, banning agriculture and hydrocarbons, would have been of about 6,3% and to which contribute, in a significant way, promising sectors such as mechanical and electric industry (MEI) and services. The investment grew to 17,3% at current prices, raising its share in GDP to 25,1%. The share of the private sector in the total investments reached 61% and FDIs in GDP are estimated at 5,6%.

The budget deficit will be contained within the limit of 3% of GDP without taking into consideration the privatisation operations while current deficit stands at about 3% of GDP, an acceptable level with the impact of the world economic conjecture, he specified. The external debt decreased to 39,2 % of the available revenue, against 43,4 % in 2007. Debt servicingdecreased to reach 7,9% of current revenues, against 11,7% in 2007.

Tunisia succeeded, thanks to investment flows and the corresponding enterprise creation, to create 80 thousand jobs in 2008, covering 90,4% of the additional demands, income per head increased to 5000 dinars.

Concerning compensation, the prime minister said that an additional envelope of 750 million dinars within the State budget, was allocated to deal with the hydrocarbon price increases as well as food prices in the world market, aiming at controlling inflation and containing the consumption price rises at about 5%. The development model for 2009 plans to maintain GDP growth rhythm at 5% at constant prices and create 77 thousand new jobs.

Mr Ghannouchi highlighted that competitiveness improvement remains the main challenge with the possible impacts of the international financial crisis calling for more efforts in order to reinforce the Tunisian product and services positioning in the local and foreign markets.

 Efforts will be intensified to reach an investment global volume of about 26% of GDP, the private sector is called to participate in this volume with 61% at least to enhance the start of the ongoing megaprojects.

 The prime minister also announced the grouping of the business centres and the regional support structures in common premises, networking the business centres with the enterprise pépinières and the creation of an electronic forum to provide the necessary information and data to young entrepreneurs and meet their demand with the help of experts and specialists.  Mr Ghannouchi added that 2009 will also be marked by the improvement in the financial system through the promotion of the banks and financial institutions productivity in terms of evaluation of the projects submitted to them, as well as through the intensification of the investment companies’ intervention and the promotion of the intervention of the financing public fund.

2009 Budget: Where does the money come from and where does it go?

The amount of the State project budget for 2009 is estimated at about 17 206 million dinars, an increase of 12,1% compared to the estimations of the finance law of 2008 /15 342 million dinars/, and 6,6 % compared to the updated results of this year. 

The budget resources come essentially from the proper resources up to 13 250 million dinars- MD, (77 %) and loans at 3956 MD (23 %).

The proper resources include the tax resources (11 263 MD) and non-tax resources (1 987 MD).

The tax resources come from the tax revenues wihtin 4793 MD (43 %), and indirect, amounting to 6470 MD (57 %). The non fiscal resources come from privatization revenues (100 MD), foreign donations from the European Union (100 MD) in compliance with the estimates of the 11th plan for 2009, from dues levied from the Algerian gas transit via Tunisia (435 MD) in addition to the mobilisation of 87,5 MD from the contribution of social security funds.

Concerning loan resources, they include internal loans (3087 MD) and external loans (869 MD) based on the reimbursement needs of the principal of all the debt.

The State budget expenses for the next year, are estimated at 17 106 MD, without the anciaent loans (100MD) and taking into consideration the expense and compensation public debt servicing, against 15 242 MD in the finance law for 2008, (+ 12,2 %). These estimates were established on the basis of an increase in development expenses of 20,9 %, to reach 3 800 MD.

Excepting compensation, the development expenses amount to 7901 MD. The compensation expenses were fixed at 1 650 MD, among which 650 MD will be devoted to subsidies of hydrocarbons and electricity, based on the baril price of 90 dollars (about 122 dinars), 800 million dinars in subsidy of the basic products and 200 MD for transport.
Credits of about 6 246 MD will be devoted to the efforts relating to the promotion of human resources through the recruitment of 13 thousand agents, the promotion of 26 thousand agents and the increase in retirement allowances of retirement and insurance on sickness. 

In this way, salaries will represent 81,6% of the management expenses, without compensation and exceptional expenses.
The reimbursements of the public debt (principal and interest rates) are estimated for the year 2009, at about 3755 million dinars against 3394 MD estimated in 2008, an increase of 292 MD.

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