Tunisia: Government Seeks to Achieve Growth Rate of 4.5 Percent in 2013

Tunis — The Tunisian government seeks to achieve a growth rate of 4.5% in 2013, compared with estimates of 3.5% for 2012, despite the observers' rather pessimistic forecasts about the development of Tunisia's economic situation.

"This growth could be achieved notably through energisation of consumption, stimulation of investments and consolidation of exports," Regional Development and Planning Minister Jameleddine Gharbi said. The government intends, in this regard, to relaunch the sectors that suffered from a certain setback in 2011, such as mines and manufacturing industries, raise the public investment share in GDP to 22.7% and create 90 000 additional jobs in 2013.

For the second quarter of 2012, the government's forecasts bank on a growth rate of 3.5%, except for agriculture, a sector whose growth rate is estimated at 4.5% against 2.5%. Thus, the growth rate expected in the second quarter of 2012 (3.5%) is the same as that recorded in the first six months of 2012, a period during which consumption increased by 4.4%, the public and private investment by 8.8%, exports by 3.9% and imports by 3.5%.

According to the government's statistics, the results recorded by the non-manufacturing industries and services sectors were "more than expected", with growth rates reaching 6.5% and 4.1%, respectively, against forecasts of 5.3% and 3.2%. For manufacturing industries, the results recorded during the first quarter of 2012 were lower than expected with a growth rate reaching 2.5%.

As regards employment, the government's last statistics are rather optimistic, especially as the unemployment rate dropped from 18.9% at the beginning of 2012, to 18.1% by the end of the first quarter of the same year. The number of jobs created up to the end of last June reached 26 713, compared with 23 181 in the same period in 2011, according to the National Employment and Self-Employment Agency (ANETI).

Job applications reached 234 046 by the end of the first quarter of 2012, compared with 282 456 in the same period of 2011.

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