Tunisia: 'Investors Do Not Need Benefits but Fair and Equitable Environment' - Naceur Hidoussi

Tunis/Tunisia — "Investors do not need benefits but a fair and equitable environment," President of Tunisia's Joint Chambers Council (CCIM) Naceur Hidoussi said on Thursday.

Several difficulties related notably to the legislative framework and administrative procedures are blocking improving investments in Tunisia, Hidoussi pointed out at a debate on foreign currency investment by foreign residents, organised by the Tunisian-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (French: CTFCI).

Concerning foreign exchange transactions' legislative framework, Hidoussi said the movement of foreign currency no longer appeals to all.

"This particularly difficult regulation becomes binding for most of the investors or even blocking," he said, adding that because of these blockages, several foreign companies have relocated their current accounts out of Tunisia.

He also questioned the reasons for the delay in instituting the exchange amnesty and the right of every Tunisian to have a foreign exchange account.

"We do not understand the struggles to pass such a law especially that it will help bail out banks and help a dying economy, knowing that a major competitor is currently operating in Ben Guerdane," he noted.

"The exchange rate can change twice a day given the number of transactions," he said pointing out that a centric rather than central bank does exist in Ben Guerdane with a most complex and innovative financial transfer system.

Hidoussi also cited the negative impact of the parallel economy, saying it may be time to consider changing banknotes as money is no longer in banks, he said.

"Help us continue believing in this country and help us continue investing in it," he emphasised at the end of his speech.

President of the Tunisian-French Chamber of Industry and Commerce (French: CTFCI) Foued Lakhoua said Tunisia needs, more than ever, to boost foreign investment in various sectors of activity to further develop its economy, stimulate growth, create wealth and especially new jobs.

Lakhoua highlighted the importance of the provisions included in Circular 2018-14 of the Central Bank of Tunisia (French: BCT); It sets the procedures for the investment commitment of non-residents in foreign currencies that are subject to the declaration of the Central Bank of Tunisia as well as the procedures for making transfers of related income and the proceeds of their sale and liquidation.

"This circular is a good message and a step forward towards a process of liberalisation that should concern foreign exchange operations and result in total convertibility of the dinar," he said.

Presenting Central Bank Circular 2018-14, Raoudha Boukadida Director of Capital Operations at BCT said it aims to digitise the investment files via an electronic platform hosted by the Central Bank of Tunisia (fiche-invest.bct.gov.tn/FichInvest).

"This is an essential tool that justifies the financing in foreign currency and the regularity of the investment in Tunisia," she said.

Foreign and Tunisian investors, chartered accountants and lawyers attended the debate and discussed several issues related in particular to the legal framework and administrative procedures.

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