IMF mission to visit Tunisia next week to discuss fifth review of loan

Tunisia’s Minister of Economic Reform said the mission will arrive on March 27. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
0

IMF mission to visit Tunisia next week to discuss fifth review of loan

  • The IMF is against Tunisia’s latest wage raises
  • The $2.8 billion loan aims to help Tunisia’s failing economy

TUNIS: An International Monetary Fund mission will visit Tunisia on March 27 to discuss the fifth review of a loan program with the country, Minister of Economic Reform Tawfik Rajhi said on Tuesday.
The visit comes two months after the government raised the wages of about 670,000 public employees, a decision the IMF had discouraged in order to cut Tunisia’s budget deficit.
“The IMF mission will visit Tunisia from March 27 to April 9 for discussions on the fifth review of the loan program,” Rajhi told Reuters.
Tunisia struck a deal struck with the IMF in December 2016 for a loan program worth around $2.8 billion to overhaul its ailing economy. It included steps to cut chronic deficits and trim bloated public services, but progress has been slow.
Tunisia has so far received $ 1.4 billion of the total loan.
The North African country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering violent upheaval, as happened in Syria and Libya.
But since 2011, nine cabinets have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems, which include high inflation and unemployment, and impatience is rising among lenders like the IMF, which have kept the country afloat.


US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

Updated 20 April 2019
0

US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

  • The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing
  • Huawei dismissed the allegations

US intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the West.
The CIA accused Huawei of receiving funding from China’s National Security Commission, the People’s Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, the British newspaper reported, citing a source.
Earlier this year, US intelligence shared its claims with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report.
Huawei dismissed the allegations in a statement cited by the newspaper.
“Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources,” a Huawei representative told The Times.
The company, the CIA and Chinese state security agencies did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns in the United States that Huawei’s equipment could be used for espionage. The company has said the concerns are unfounded.
Authorities in the United States are probing Huawei for alleged sanctions violations.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran.
She denies wrongdoing and her father has previously said the arrest was “politically motivated.”
Amid such charges, top educational institutions in the West have recently severed ties with Huawei to avoid losing federal funding.
Another Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp. , has also been at the center of similar controversies in the United States.
US sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping US-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.
Reuters reported earlier this week that the United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.