Tunisia raises fuel prices in push to reduce deficit

– Tunisia announced on Sunday the second increase in fuel prices in six months, raising the price of petrol by 2.85 percent as the government tries to rein in the budget deficit.

The price of a liter of gasoline will rise from 1.75 dinars to 1.8 dinars from Monday, the ministry of energy, mines and renewable energy said in a statement.

The price of diesel will also increase by 0.05 dinars, to 1.56 dinars a liter for low sulfur diesel and 1.28 for regular diesel, the ministry said. The price of a canister of domestic cooking and heating gas will rise from 7.4 to 7.7 dinars, the first rise in price for seven years.

In July the government raised the price of fuel from 1.65 dinars to 1.75 dinars, an increase of 6.7 percent.

Praised for its democratic transition after a 2011 uprising, Tunisia has struggled to push through economic reforms agreed with international lenders to lower public spending.

It has forecast that the budget deficit will fall to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, from about 6 percent expected in 2017.

A 36 billion dinar ($14.55 billion) budget for 2018 approved earlier this month includes a package of fiscal measures to cut the deficit that had been watered down under pressure from unions.


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