$2.7bn IMF loan approved, agreement to be signed in March

Tunisian Minister announces fuel and electricity price hike

GMT 16:44 2013 Tuesday ,05 February

Arab Today, arab today Tunisian Minister announces fuel and electricity price hike

Petrol prices have been frozen, but cost of gasoline per litre has increased
Tunis - Azhar Jarboui

Petrol prices have been frozen, but cost of gasoline per litre has increased Tunisian Finance Minister Elias Alfajfaj has officially announced the pre-planned increase in the prices of fuel, electricity and cigarettes. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said that "partial amendments" in the prices of these products had been officially approved by the government.
The minister revealed that the price of gasoline per litre will increase by 100 dimes ($10), and mazut oil will go up by 80 dimes ($8), while the price of petroleum will remain the same. He also revealed that electricity prices will increase by 7 percent for non-household consumption during the coming period.
"These increases would alleviate the cost of support to be bourne by the state budget for the year 2013, from 4700 million to 4200 million dinars," Alfajfaj explained.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Tunisia Central Bank, Chedly Ayari said that the International Monetary Fund [IMF] has agreed to grant Tunisia a $2.7bn loan, with an interest rate of 1.1 percent for five years. The agreement will be signed in Washington in March.
Ayari pointed out that IMF told Tunisia to undertake reforms without any political interference in its policies or violation to its sovereignty.
He stressed that the loan credit is just a preventive measure to protect major balances in the state from global financial shocks, pointing out that Tunisia will not use the loan granted by the IMF in 2013, and has no plans to use it after that.
Ayari noted that Tunisia's debt amounts to 46 percent, a "high percentage" compared to neighbouring Arab countries like Morocco and Algeria.
Elsewhere, Tunisian Prime Tunisian Hamadi Jebali met the heads of Tunisia Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts, and General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), to discuss the implementation of the social contract signed between the government and unions on the second anniversary of the Tunisian revolution.
President of the Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts, Wedad Bouchmawi stressed that 2013 will be "a difficult year," calling for joint efforts from the various parties to promote the Tunisian economy.
She confirmed the private sector's willingness to boost investment and grant job opportunities, after seeing a clear political agenda in the country, such as the fixed date of the next election.
Secretary General of the UGTT Hussain Abbasi said that he exchanged views with the Prime Minister about political, economic and social developments.
He added that they agreed to keep the doors open to a constructive dialogue, in order to achieve desired communication with all related parties.

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