21 January 2013

Tunisia: Budgets Are Allocated to Regions According to Development Indicators - Minister

Tunis — Budgets allocated to regional development under the State budget 2013 have been distributed according to development indicators in each delegation, said Minister of Regional Development and Planning Jameleddine Gharbi.

In a statement to TAP, the Minister also said a data base was developed in delegations to identify gaps between regions and ensure optimum distribution of budgets.

The Minister of Regional Development underlined, in this regard, that the major challenges to be met in matters of development in 2013 are the preservation of citizens' dignity and improvement of their living conditions.

The first step towards achieving this objective would be the preparation of a report on living conditions and ways to improve them, said Mr. Gharbi, adding that development requires effective participation of citizens in national organisations and associations, proposals and monitoring of project implementation.

The new development model requires efforts of all players, namely associations, economic and union structures away from any conflict, said the Minister.

Local development committees:

Mr. Jameleddine Gharbi also said the Interior Ministry had published last August a circular for the creation of local development committees whose members are elected in each delegation. These structures will be composed of five members among skilled people and will be responsible for defining and monitoring public projects and seeking new national and foreign funding resources, underlined Mr. Gharbi.

These committees would generate 1,445 job positions for civil society representatives, he said, adding that this proposal awaits validation of the Prime Ministry to move to the stages of implementation.

Local development agencies:

The creation of local development agencies is the second proposal made to boost development.

Mr. Gharbi said the largest obstacle impeding development is the lack of a representativeness of State structures in delegations and the centralisation of decision, which the Minister described as "fatal."

The ministry's initiative provides for the creation of local development offices to help in the implementation and monitoring of public projects in delegations. The real change of aspects of fair and balanced development among different regions requires, according to him, opting for decentralisation in decision and breaking with the mentality of the so-called "welfare state."

Regional development fund:

The major problem that leads to the proliferation of unemployment, poverty and marginalisation of regions is the non-competitiveness of companies, said the Regional Development Minister.

This phenomenon is due to a rudimentary economic fabric which is unable to ensure competitiveness and create jobs.

Among the 602 thousand businesses settled in Tunisia, 522 thousand, i.e. 87% do not create jobs and 62 thousand employ between 1 and 5 persons, said the minister of regional development.

Among 45 thousand new companies created annually, 24 thousand disappear from the market and 4 thousand companies are dead before they are born, thus causing the loss of 76 thousand jobs per year, underlined Mr. Gharbi.

Private investment is "stifled," said the Minister, citing the complexity of administrative procedures and financing problems. Such a situation impacts on the life of the company on the market, he added.

The aim behind the creation of the regional investment fund is to overcome and financial deficit and seek new financial resources to vitalise private investment and encourage participation in the capital of the company and management which ensures its continuity.

This situation is likely to give a fresh impetus to the monetary market, knowing that among the 602 thousand businesses, only 62 are listed at the stock exchange, noted the Minister.

This fund will contribute to the achievement of 5 objectives designed to ensure high added value and boost exports and competitiveness, through agricultural production, extraction of useful substances, industrialisation then storage, logistic transport and sale particularly to foreign markets.

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