Tunisia: Treasury Account Has Balance of 1,510 Millions Dinars in January 9

Tunis — "Foreign currency reserves reached 118 days of imports to January 8, 2013, while the current account of the Treasury has a balance of 1,510 million dinars in January 9, against 807 MTD in 2012," Secretary of State for Finance Slim Besbes said Saturday.

Speaking at a meeting held by the Centre of Young Managers (CJD) and the German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Mr. Besbes indicated that "the fiscal policy adopted in Tunisia for the years 2012-2013 is that of "Go and Stop."

This policy is based in the first year (2012) on the restoration of social stability and economic revival by mobilising additional funds for the budget (+22% in 2012 compared to 2011) and this is the policy of "Go," he explained.

With regard to the second year, it will be marked by "stabilising the budget volume (+4%) compared to 2012 and this is the "Stop" policy, he added.

The Secretary of State also said "this stimulus policy is likely to boost development to reach a growth rate equal to 7% in 2017 and an unemployment rate of 10%."

However, he said inflation has continued to worsen, reaching 5.9% to the end of 2012 and the current deficit rose to more than 7.5% of the GDP in November 2012 against 6.4% of the GDP in 2011.

"The 2-dinar fee charged for each night spent in hotels in Tunisia will be applied starting October 1, 2013," the Secretary of State announced.

"This will allow hoteliers to set their tariffs applicable in 2014 while taking into account this new fee."

With regard to the fiscal policy, Mr. Besbes said a deep tax reform is under study now and it will characterise the year 2013.

"The Finance Act for this year includes provisions that will allow to strengthen resources of the General Compensation Fund, including particularly the establishment of a compensation fee."

It is a tax imposed on the gross income of individuals whose annual income exceeds 20 million dinars with a maximum of 2 thousand dinars per year.

Mr. Faycal Derbel, accountant and academic, pointed to two major problems that need urgent remedy, namely wages and compensation which weigh heavily on the State budget (over 14 billion dinars in 2013.

Moreover, he considered that the estimated growth rate for 2013, i.e. 4.5%, is achievable provided that the confidence of all social and economic stakeholders is restored, the process of reform accelerated and urgent actions implemented at different levels before March 31, 2013.

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