Tunis/Tunisia — The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), on Monday, warned against the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), due to the unprecedented deterioration of the economic and financial situation in the country.
"Negotiations will be dangerous for the country's sovereign national decision and future development, the FTDES said, urging "self-reliance and internal solutions, before resorting to any external sides."
The forum called for laying down an alternative development model capable of responding to structural challenges, while respecting freedoms and economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.
"Negotiations with the IMF for the third time in a row since 2011 will be more dangerous because of the alarming spread of the coronavirus in the country, the growing deficit of public finances, the great fragility of the health system and the inability to impose the respect of prevention measures."
The FTDES also voiced concern over the absence of a "competent and credible interlocutor, who has a significant representativeness and unanimity and who is capable of leading negotiations with international financial institutions."
It described the national political landscape as "shameful and mediocre."
The forum explains its position by the continuous downgrading of Tunisia's sovereign credit rating by all the rating agencies, the lack of confidence in all political stakeholders and the resurgence of conflicts among them.
The FTDES also castigated the attempts of some foreign parties to involve trade associations in the upcoming negotiations to ensure submission to their directives in the face of growing popular discontent and rise of social protests.
"The recourse to the IMF has been presented each time as the solution to overcome the difficulties, improve the financial balance and promote development," the FTDS said.
However, the situation has only worsened with each recourse, so much that the country is now on the verge of bankruptcy.
The same forces monopolising wealth and authority are responsible for the deterioration of the situation in the country; they are pushing each time for recourse to the IMF as the only solution to the crisis. They are behind the rise in indebtedness and the country's submission to the demands of the Fund and to the various international economic and financial institutions, the Forum added.
These forces avoid seeking internal solutions and mobilising internal resources through bold and exceptional reforms, out of fear for their own interests.
"They are confident that the IMF will push the government to pursue austerity policies, which will make the middle class and the broadest social groups pay for the crisis."