Tunisia hopes on second IMF loan

The authority in Tunisia is expecting the release of the second International Monetary Fund loan tranche late March or early April.

The country’s prime minister’s economic adviser, Ridha Saidi said they hope the upcoming visit of the IMF will be positive adding that the loan will be disbursed soon.

Tunisia secured a $2.88 billion loan last May, when $319 million were disbursed. However, the IMF didn’t release $321 million in December.

According to Saidi, during its last visit earlier this month, the Washington-based lender expressed concern over the pace of reforms, especially with regard to wages and the retirement age.

The government plans to cut 20,000 public jobs through early retirements and by offering severance packages.

Six years after an uprising that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, economic growth in Tunisia remains below the long-term average.

The IMF predicts Tunisia’s budget deficit will fall to 5.6 percent of gross domestic product this year, which is higher than the initial target, due to slow growth and fiscal-policy slippages.

However, the government is considering selling some of its stakes in three public banks and some private lenders, including one in Banque Zitouna that had been confiscated from an associate of the former president in 2011.

Africa news

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