Tunisian economy facing challenges, says IMF
In response to a request from the Tunisian authorities, an IMF mission led by Mr. Amine Mati visited Tunis from February 18 to March 3, 2016, to hold discussions on a four-year arrangement under the IMF's Extended Fund Facility (EFF), expected to amount to about $2.8 billion, to support the country's economic reform program. At the end of the visit, Mr. Mati said, "The team held productive discussions with senior government and Central Bank officials. It also met with members of parliament, representatives of the banking and private sectors, political parties, trade unions, donors, and civil society. Discussions focused on the government's economic reform agenda, policy priorities to boost economic growth, and the role that the IMF can play to support Tunisia's economic recovery".
Moving ahead with economic reform is crucial as the Tunisian economy confronts several significant challenges. Economic growth is held back by investors' wait-and-see attitude and regional uncertainties, unemployment is high, and the current account deficit remains significant. Promoting private-sector development and modernizing the public sector are important tasks. Additional financing will be needed to rebuild buffers, while at the same time correcting structural inefficiencies that lower Tunisia's ability to create jobs and future growth potential.
The team supports the government's comprehensive economic reform program, spelled out in its economic vision, which is expected to be detailed in its forthcoming 5-Year Development Plan. The government program appropriately focuses on boosting economic growth, creating more jobs, and raising the living standards of all Tunisians. Overall, the program will help make growth more inclusive and reduce regional disparities. To achieve these objectives, the government has committed to continue pursuing prudent macroeconomic policies and accelerate the implementation of its ambitious structural reform agenda. The mission discussed its observations on the economic reform program with the Tunisian authorities. Negotiations for a new IMF arrangement to support the government's economic reform program are at an advanced stage. As next steps, the team will continue its discussions with the authorities as they finalize their reform priorities and fine tune plans for this year's budget execution and financing needs. In the coming weeks, the team plans to finalize the details of the EFF in support of Tunisia's economic program.