Tunisia –Government meets union leaders as Tunis seeks 4-billion dollar IMF loan 

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Duration: 00:03:35

Voice: Natural

Source: A24 Tunisia

Restriction: A24 subscribers

Date: 17/08/2022

Storyline:

Economic officials from President Kais Saied’s government are holding ongoing talks with the country’s major social and labor organizations to discuss ways to implement reforms demanded by international financial institutions. Saied is trying to secure a 4-billion dollar IMF loan with a mix of cost-cutting and privatization measures, including freezing wages for civil servants, cutting some subsidies, and privatizing state firms. Some participants in the dialogue told A24 that the public consultations are just window dressing to reassure international investors. But everyday citizens hope that new understandings with Tunisia’s strong unions will help the government increase exports and reduce unemployment. According to the National Institute of Statistics, the Tunisian economy grew 2.8 percent during the second quarter of 2022. Still, the gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 1.0 percent due to the construction and industrial sectors.

Storyline:

Soundbite (Muhamad Ali – Tunisian man):

“We appreciate and value this step. Tunisia will only solve economic crisis through a national dialogue, and this is the first initiative for dialogue.”

Soundbite (Walid Al-Nawairi – Economist):

“It is a message of reassurance to those whom I consider the number one investor in Tunisia, the consumer. Consumption in Tunisia is evidence of the success of the economy. Consumption in our country is one of the main pillars of the economy. These (talks) are seen as a message to foreign investors to reassure them. At one time, there was uncertainty towards Tunisia as an investment destination.”

Soundbite (Mohamed Bououd – Journalist and Analyst):

“It is true that marketing indicates that there is social and political consensus that contributes to satisfying the donor financial institutions, but the reality is that these institutions will not give loans, gifts, or grants unless they know that they will recover their money. Therefore, talks on the necessity of social dialogue to speed up loans and grants are nothing but a kind of media and political marketing.”

Soundbite (Ali – Tunisian man):

“The meeting that brought together the Union, Al-Araf Organization and the Government is a good thing. This is a resumption of dialogue between the social partners.”

Soundbite (Khadija – Tunisian woman):

“It (national dialogue) is a good sign because it gives foreigners a message that Tunisia is fine and safe. Although this dialogue will not solve an economic crisis, it is a good step towards reform. There is no magic wand to change things all at once. It requires patience.”

Soundbite (Nasreddine Sassi – Journalist for Al-Shaab newspaper, a speaking platform for the Tunisian trade union):

“All parties will sit again to agree on the necessary measures to save the national economy. As you know, there is controversy over this issue and about the reform of the public sector system, the subsidy system, and many other issues that require and impose partnership between the three parties.”

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