Tunis/Tunisia — A study by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and erlassjahr.de (Jubilee Germany) shows Tunisia's sovereign debts are sustainable only to the detriment of social justice and believes Tunisia should demand an immediate moratorium on debt servicing on all payments, followed by a process of comprehensive debt restructuring.
According to the study, which will be presented Thursday in Marsa, "the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed up public debts to 87% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and the country is facing high debt repayments and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recommended a fiscal consolidation to maintain them with a debt service that would absorb more than 25% of government revenue between 2019 and 2025.
However, instead of prioritising debt repayment, the study, excerpts of which were included in a statement by the German foundation, suggested that the Tunisian government should seek debt restructuring to protect its citizens' rights, especially since the debt relief measures linked to the pandemic by the G20, are not available to Tunisia, as only low-income countries have access to them.
According to Thomas Claes, director of the FES (MENA) project on "Economic Policies for Social Justice", "the international community seems to want to leave heavily indebted middle-income countries like Tunisia behind. Tunisia can only repay its debt service in full and on time by prioritising the rights of creditors over the human and economic rights of Tunisian citizens.
Thomas Claes added: "A new 'social pact', as recommended by the IMF, must begin with comprehensive debt relief and a genuine national dialogue on economic reforms that are not prescribed by the IMF or other creditors.
The human rights of the Tunisian people must take priority over creditors' demands for full payment, according to the study.