23 June 2012

Tunisia: Consultations Over 2013 State Budget Launched

Tunis — Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali kick-started, on Saturday in Tunis, the conference on consultations on the 2013 State budget, with attendance of several government members and American economy professor Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize.

Mr. Jebali said the regional consultations on preparation of the 2013 budget will be carried out in a participatory and extended way.

He added that priority for the 2013 State budget will be lent to the national economy's consolidation and development of its structure, by means of reinforcing contribution of the high added-value activities to improve Tunisia's rating.

The reforms that the Government had undertaken with the European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank are aimed to solidify the foundations of transparency and review the Code of Investment Incentives, the Prime Minister specified.

These changes are also meant to step up competitiveness and employment through the improvement of its mechanisms, enhance women's role in active life, entrench social progress in the regions and strengthen the local communities' financial resources.

The Prime Minister pointed out, in this regard, that the national economy's output had recorded a gradual improvement during the first quarter of 2012.

He estimated that the national economy will achieve in 2012 a positive growth rate of 3.5%, which will generate about 75 000 jobs, 25 000 of which in the civil service.

He added that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had risen year on year by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2012.

Mr. Jebali also spoke of the improvement of the investment indicators, through the rise by 11.1% of the equipment goods imports in the first five months of 2012, the increase by 19.3% of the foreign direct investments flow in the first four months of 2012 and the rise by nearly 36% in tourist revenues.

He pointed out that these indicators highlight Tunisia's capacity to overcome the difficult phase it is living through. Actually, the budget deficit is expected to go down and the current balance of payments will stand at 6.6% of the GDP.

Besides, the Prime Minister reminded of the drop recorded in trade exchanges, in view of the difficult international economic juncture and the rise of foodstuff prices, which requires "further monitoring."

He explained that the financial policy adopted now should not last, hence the imperative to go back to financial balances in addition to the control of the country's foreign debt.

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