RIYADH: Tunisia expects to agree on a new program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) within three months, Finance Minister Ali Kooli said, as talks continue on reforms for the country’s troubled economy, Bloomberg reported.
Discussions are continuing on the size of any loan the Washington-based lender may provide, Kooli told Bloomberg.
IMF officials have responded positively to reforms proposed by Tunisia, describing them as “realistic” and “applicable,” he said, without giving specifics on the steps envisaged.
Tunisia is discussing phasing out subsidies and trimming the public wage bill, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg.
Tunisia is considering the gradual removal of subsidies on food, electricity and natural gas by 2024, replacing them with direct cash transfers for the neediest, according to the confidential document written by the government and central bank. This document includes recommendations from lawmakers, the largest trade union, business leaders and civil society.
The country is also mulling a voluntary redundancy campaign that would help cut the government’s wage bill to 15 percent of gross domestic product from 17.4 percent in 2020.
The proposals include completely abolishing LPG subsidies in the second half of 2021, establishing a debt management agency and imposing a new real estate tax, Asharq reported.