Tunisia will raise local fuel prices every month this year

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Tunisia will raise local fuel prices every month this year by no less than 3 percent, an official in the energy ministry said on Thursday, which may mean an increase of at least 30 percent by the end of 2022.

Tunisia raised fuel prices by 5 percent on Wednesday, its third hike this year, following a sharp rise in oil prices in an effort to rein in its budget deficit.

The North African country, suffering from its worst financial crisis, is trying to agree on a new financing program with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for unpopular reforms including cuts in fuel and food subsidies.

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“The Finance Law says that there will be a monthly increase in fuel prices by 3 percent at least this year,” Afif Mabrouki, an official at the energy ministry, said.

Tunisia’s energy trade deficit in the first two months this year jumped by 62 percent from the same period last year to $357 million, the energy ministry said on Thursday.

The reforms proposed to the IMF include an increase in fuel and electricity prices, and a freeze on public-sector pay, moves strongly rejected by the country’s most powerful labor union, which has threatened to go on general strike.

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