Tunisia says it needs $1.3 bln in foreign loans to meet 2015 budget

Tunisia needs $1.3 billion in foreign financing and loans to meet its budget deficit target this year. (Twitter)

Tunisia needs $1.3 billion in foreign financing and loans to meet its budget deficit target this year, Finance Minister Slim Chaker said on Monday.

That would include $1 billion in loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that Tunis has already said it expects to receive this year.

The government expects the budget deficit to narrow to 5 percent of gross domestic product in 2015, from 5.8 percent last year, but that target has been made tougher by salary hikes for tens of thousands of public sector teachers who went on strike last month and boycotted student exams to press wage demands.

"Our needs from foreign loans are 5 billion dinars. We collected 2.5 billion (Tunisian) dinars ($1.3 billion) but we still need 2.5 billion dinars," Chaker told a press conference.

He also said Tunisia would spend 1.2 billion dinars less on petrol due to a sharp fall in global oil prices.

Tunisia's total budget for this year is 29 billion dinars.

The North African country faces pressure from creditors to cut high public spending, including subsidies on basic foods and fuel, through a series of politically sensitive reforms.

An Islamist militant attack on the national museum in Tunis last month, which killed 21 foreign tourists, also risks hitting the tourism sector, a main source of revenue.

The government plans to sell minority stakes in several state-run banks this year to raise around $670 million to help cut its deficit, it said this month.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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