Tunisia’s central bank governor says some countries will lend financial support

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Tunisia’s central bank governor said on Thursday that some countries friendly to Tunisia will help it through its financial crisis, a day after the bank said it was worried about an acute shortage of external financial resources.

Central bank governor Marouane Abassi did not name any countries, but it is widely expected that some Gulf countries who support President Kais Saied may be ready to help Tunisia financially.

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“It has been confirmed that several friends will stand with Tunisia in this difficult financial period,” Abassi said after meeting the president at Carthage Palace.

Saied in July dismissed the prime minister and suspended the elected parliament in moves his critics call a coup, and he has since brushed aside much of the constitution, which he has said he will amend.

He is expected to announce a new government this week that may resort to asking the central bank to buy treasury bonds to help fund a huge budget deficit that reached 11.4 percent of the country’s estimated economic output last year.

The central bank, however, warned on Wednesday that financing the budget carries economic risks including boosting inflation, reducing the bank’s reserves and causing a drop in the value of the local currency.

Tunisia also needs to raise at least $3.5 billion this year to roll over its foreign debts and pay the wages of hundreds of thousands of employees in the public sector.

Abbasi said Tunisia will hold talks with the International Monetary Fund soon about financial support programs and the reforms Tunisia must implement to receive that support.

It was the first mention by a Tunisian official of resuming talks with the IMF.

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