Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jemaa said Monday night that the new government's main task is to tackle the economic challenges facing his country.
"The economic situation is more difficult than we thought," said Jemaa, who formed the new caretaker government in late January -- a step considered to have ended the political crisis besetting Tunisia since the assassination of two opposition lawmakers in 2013.
Jemaa said that his government would try to come up with solutions that would bring together urgent measures and much-needed structural reforms.
"A national dialogue about the future of economy in Tunisia is necessary to determine Tunisia's new economic direction," he said.
The new cabinet, he added, will avoid increasing public spending and seek alternatives to public-sector recruitment to reduce the high unemployment rate. Tunisia's main financial burdens are public-sector salaries and subsidies.
Eyeing a larger role of private investment and entrepreneurship, he said his government has started reaching out to potential investors and institutions providing micro-credits for aspiring young entrepreneurs.
The prime minister also called on Tunisian citizens to stay united and work hard to be able to overcome the various difficulties.
Regarding the security situation, Jemaa said the situation is moving towards improvement.
Before Jemaa was sworn in as prime minister on Jan. 29, Tunisia approved its first constitution after the ouster of former President Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
The progress was hailed by the international community as a step forward in strengthening the North African country's fragile political transition.