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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The pandemic aggravated Tunisia’s long-standing vulnerabilities stemming from persistent fiscal and external imbalances, rising debt, and contingent liabilities from inefficient state-owned enterprises. The crisis is expected to induce the largest contraction in real GDP since independence. The authorities’ targeted response together with higher outlays on wages widened the fiscal deficit. A second Covid-19 wave is underway. The authorities are securing 500,000 doses to start a first campaign of vaccinations in February and are aiming to secure more doses to vaccinate half of the population starting in April–May. Staff expects GDP growth to rebound modestly in 2021, but it could take years before activity returns to pre-crisis levels, especially if large imbalances were not addressed and key reforms delayed. Downside risks dominate and recent protests highlight the level of social tensions, aggravated by Covid-19 restrictions, and particularly among the youth.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Tunisia’s Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The IMF financing will support the authorities’ emergency measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its human, social, and economic toll amid unprecedented uncertainty. These measures involve raising health spending, strengthening social safety nets, and supporting small- and medium-sized firms hit by the crisis. The RFI is the most appropriate instrument to help address the urgent balance of payments need considering that too little time would have been left before the Extended Fund Facility expiration on May 19 to agree on the significant revisions to program objectives required in response to the Covid-19 shock. The IMF financing will also ensure an adequate level of international reserves and catalyze additional donor financing. The authorities are committed to maintaining prudent economic policies and resuming fiscal consolidation once the crisis abates to ensure macroeconomic stability and the sustainability of Tunisia’s debt. Macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability hinge on strong policy and reform implementation. The authorities are committed to resuming fiscal consolidation once the crisis abates.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Growth in the near term remains subdued for oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, amid volatile oil prices, precarious global growth, elevated fiscal vulnerabilities, and heightened geopolitical tensions. In addition, declining productivity is dampening medium-term growth prospects. To reduce dependence on oil prices and pave the way for more sustainable growth, fiscal consolidation needs to resume, underpinned by improved medium-term fiscal frameworks. In parallel, structural reforms and further financial sector development would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic private investment and foster diversification, thus contributing to improved productivity and potential growth.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Tunisia’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Fund Facility, and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance and Modification of Performance Criteria, and for Rephasing of Access. This review focuses on stabilizing the economy ahead of the Fall 2019 elections. Civil service wage hikes and a pause in energy price hikes constitute departures from the policies agreed at the Fourth Review. The authorities will adjust their policy mix to correct for these slippages and keep the economy on a stabilization path, while maintaining social cohesion. Structural reforms should focus on enhancing the business climate and improving access to finance to boost private-sector led growth. The appointment of the members of the High Anti-Corruption Authority would help address corruption concerns. Socio-political tensions and deterioration in security are the main risks to the adjustment strategy. Higher oil prices, spillovers from conflicts in the region, a further slowing of EU growth, rising trade tensions, and shifts in investor sentiment could also jeopardize economic stability.