Early Friday, the Tunisian Presidency announced that President Kais Saied communicated to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Director-General, Kristalina Georgieva, that the fund’s conditions for providing financial support to his country could potentially spark civil unrest.
A statement issued by the presidency mentioned that President Saied elucidated that “the IMF’s prescriptions for financial support to Tunisia are unacceptable as they would harm the civil peace, which is priceless.”
Negotiations around a financial rescue plan have been stumbling since October when Tunisia and the IMF reached an experts’ agreement. Saied later expressed his outright rejection of the idea of reducing subsidies, stating that this could lead to significant social tensions and infringe upon civil peace in the country. He clearly articulated his opposition to the sale of state-owned companies as well.
A senior government official disclosed to Reuters a week ago that Tunisia is preparing an alternative proposal to present to the IMF after President Kais Saied rejected the fund’s “dictations” about a $1.9 billion loan negotiated last year.
The experts’ agreement between Tunisia and the IMF includes restructuring state-owned companies. The fund stated that the total debt of these companies in 2021 represented 40% of the Gross Domestic Product.