19 January 2013

Tunisia: Private Investment in Governorate of Kef Is Major Challenge in 2013 (minister)

Tunis — The major development challenge that needs to be met in the Governorate of Kef in 2013 is private investment, Minister of Regional Development and Planning Jameleddine Gharbi said in a statement to TAP.

The private sector is the only guarantor to ensure development of the region and promote youth employment, he underlined.

Though 427 projects have been planned in the Governorate of Kef in 2012 with investments of 365 million dinars, tension has persisted in Kef which staged a general strike last Wednesday.

This strike was decided in protest against "the non respect by the government of agreements signed with the Tunisian General Labour Union on fight against unemployment and realisation of development programmes in the region."

Involving the private sector requires seeking new mechanisms to attract investors and facilitate the implementation of projects, underlined Mr. Gharbi.

Thirty seven businessmen submitted applications in 2012 to carry out projects in the Governorate of Kef for a value of 40.6 million dinars. They will generate 808 jobs, reminded the Minister.

Projects in progress cover many areas. They include a company for the protection of cardboard boxes worth 10 million dinars, a unit for the production of tinned tomato at El Kalaa El Khisba and another for the production of cans in Tajerouine, he said.

Some 245 agricultural projects have been planned for 2012 shared out between different delegations with investments of 11.4 million dinars, likely to generate 245 jobs, added the Minister.

There are also 8 tourist and services projects planned with a budget estimated at 8.1 million dinars. They will generate 110 jobs.

Stability in the Governorate of Kef is an essential condition to attract businessmen, encourage co-operation and thus capitalise on the natural wealth and the cultural characteristics of the region, underlined Mr. Gharbi.

He added that the Ministry of Regional Development has build contacts with Japanese academics expert in natural wealth who, he said, have drawn up a development strategy in collaboration with the Atlas association. The Municipality of Kef undertook to implement this strategy.

On the number of projects scheduled in 2012, the minister of development said a regional development committee has undertook to set the list of priority projects in the region.

Among the 427 projects scheduled in 2012, 58 projects have been completed, 136 others are in progress, 64 are being tendered, 84 projects under study and 34 are pending, while 51 projects are facing land and financial difficulties and a lack of workforce, the minister specified.

A budget of 16.276 million dinars has been earmarked to the regional council of Kef to implement the regional development programme including lighting, drinking water supply, modernisation of roads and pavements projects in addition to the improvement of living conditions, said Mr. Gharbi.

Only two delegations among those rated among disadvantaged ones in the governorate of Kef benefitted of the integrated development programme in 2012 while six delegations will benefit of this programme in 2013. They are Dahmani, Jerissa, Nebeur, Sers, Tajerouine and El Ksour which will receive each 5 million dinars, added the minister of regional development.

Inhabitants of these areas will define priority projects under the supervision of the ministry of regional development, he added.

Foreign investment will finance agricultural projects planned in Kef with a budget of 36 million dinars. They aim to preserve ground water and cover development works, in addition to studies for the development of 5 irrigation perimeters and the building of a dam in Serrat at a cost of nearly 31 million dinars.

With regard to the phosphate mine in Sraouertane, the Minister said a study will be launched soon to examine ways to implement it.

It is a project with high employability potential, he indicated, adding that it also requires improvement of infrastructure.

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