Tunisia’s prime minister said the loan was the “ last chance ” to save the cash-strapped country’s economy.
Tunisia will seek a $ 4 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in negotiations starting next week, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi told Reuters news agency, saying politicians were faced with a “last chance” to save the economy.
Mechichi said on Friday that he expected the talks to last around two months and that he was “confident” that Tunisia could secure financial support to help it navigate an economic crisis that has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All efforts must be unified in Tunisia because we consider that we have reached the last opportunity and we must use it to save the economy,” he said in an interview.
He said he wanted a three-year loan program and added that details of a deal with powerful unions, seen as key to unlocking foreign funding, were still being finalized.
He said Tunisia would rationalize rather than cut subsidies and said it was considering selling minority shares it owns in some companies to fund investments in larger state-owned companies.
The IMF has previously said Tunisia should target urgent reforms of state-owned enterprises, subsidies and the large public sector wage bill.