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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.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Tunisia’s Fourth Review Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Arrangement and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria (PCs). The recovery has proceeded broadly as expected in the Third Review, notwithstanding elevated socio-political tensions and a further increase in oil prices. Growth accelerated to 2.8 percent in the second quarter driven by agriculture and tourism. The authorities met all Quantitative PCs and implemented two out of the three Structural Benchmarks due for the Fourth Review, notably the competitive central bank foreign exchange auctions. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for completion of the Fourth Review under the EFF arrangement.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The government has strengthened policy and reform implementation in recent months. All Quantitative Performance Criteria (QPCs) for end-March and three out of nine Structural Benchmarks (SBs) for the Third Review were met. One additional SB was implemented with delay. Growth picked up to 2.5 percent in the first quarter, and confidence has improved, albeit it continues to be affected by divisions in the coalition government, risks of security and migration spillovers from Libya, and higher international oil prices. Inflation has accelerated and weighs on the purchasing power notably of the less well-off, while international reserves remain below prudent levels.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Tunisia’s economic growth almost doubled to 1.9 percent in 2017, as confidence strengthened on the back of improved security and the unity government’s early progress with policy and reform implementation. Investment and exports remained sluggish, however. Growth is expected to reach 2.4 percent in 2018, helped by a good agricultural season and a pickup in manufacturing and tourism. The unemployment rate remains high at 15 percent. Trade data for early 2018 show an improvement in export performance, while import growth is slowing. This favorable trend is expected to continue throughout the remainder of the year, supported by a more favorable real exchange rate.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Tunisia’s First Review Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), Request for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Rephasing of Access. Most quantitative performance criteria (QPCs) for end-December 2016 were missed and all structural benchmarks (SBs) through March 2017 were delayed. Most delayed SBs, including on private sector legislation, performance contracts for public banks, the civil service strategy, and the large taxpayers unit are now completed. The remaining ones will be achieved by end-2017. The IMF staff recommends the completion of the EFF review and supports the authorities’ request for rephasing of access and waivers of nonobservance of end-December QPCs.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper presents an overview of the macroeconomic condition of Tunisia. Tunisia has managed to preserve macroeconomic stability and initiate fiscal and banking reforms in a context marked by a prolonged political transition, spillovers from the crisis in Libya, and numerous exogenous shocks, including terror attacks. However, important vulnerabilities remain: economic activity is weak, employment is low, social tensions linger, spending composition has deteriorated, and external imbalances are high. To tackle these issues, Tunisia formulated a five-year (2016–20) economic vision in 2015, which is being developed into a detailed plan. The vision aims at promoting stronger and more inclusive growth in Tunisia.
Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, Heba Abdel Monem, and Pilar Garcia Martinez
Several characteristics of the structure of the Arab economies, their economic policy framework, and their banking systems make macroprudential policy a particular relevant tool. For most oil exporters, heavy reliance on the extractive sector for generating fiscal revenues and export earnings translates into increased vulnerabilities to oil price shocks. In the case of oil importers, relatively small external and fiscal buffers make them highly vulnerable to shocks. This paper discusses the experience of Arab countries in implementing macroprudential policies and contains recommendations to strengthen their macroprudential framework.