27 July 2012

Tunisia: Finance Minister Dimassi Explains Why He Stepped Down From Government

Photo: Tunis Afrique Presse
Former Tunisian finance minister, Houcine Dimassi.

Tunis — Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi announced, on Friday, his decision to resign from the interim government.

In a communiqué a copy of which was sent to TAP news agency, Mr. Dimassi presented the reasons behind his decision to step down, mentioning in particular "the numerous losses of control" related to the balance of public finance, lack of consultation and co-ordination among members of Government.

Mr. Dimassi listed several reasons that compelled him to resign, including the conflicting reactions to the monetary policies, the bill pertaining to the labour integration and indemnification of people benefiting from the General Amnesty, thus entailing, he said, additional expenses, not to mention the arbitrary and unfair circumstances of the dismissal of Tunisia's Central Bank (TCB) Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli.

"I believed, and I still do, that my most important responsibility as a Government member was to try to avoid all that would destabilise public finance and make the country vulnerable to the torments of an overburdening indebtedness," the communiqué reads.

He adds: "However, as time went by, it became crystal clear that the divide between the majority of the Government team and myself on the monetary policies widened even more."

The resigning Minister, in this connection, underlines that at the most appropriate moment to materialise the Revolution expectations, through paying greater care to the vulnerable social classes and strengthening their buying power, creating the largest number of productive jobs possible, developing the underprivileged interior regions and kick-starting the economic activity, while minding the preservation of the public financial balances, the situations where things got out of control soared, according to him, for the sake of rallying the different social classes with the upcoming elections in mind, raising, to serve this electoral purpose, the subsidising expenses to unbearable heights.

The Minister points out that the bill on the indemnification of the people who benefitted from the General Amnesty, which was recently submitted to the Cabinet, represents a "serious excess" insofar as this draft law will result in additional public spendings, given the large number of the beneficiaries and the huge compensations to be paid.

"Promulgation of such a piece of legislation will be in total contradiction with the difficult economic and financial situation Tunisia will be going through in the coming years," he explains.

Mr. Dimassi also criticises in his statement the "arbitrary and unfair" way the Governor of the Central Bank was dismissed, stressing that the decision to do so will negatively impact the prestige of the State and Tunisia's image at home and abroad.

The resigning minister points out that non-compliance with co-ordination and consultation in the decision-making process has been a common practice, underlining that a new TCB Governor was chosen without the consultation of the main concerned sides, notably the Finance Ministry.

The story goes in some media that a Cabinet reshuffle is in the air.

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