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"We assiduously pursue fight against parallel economy and smuggling and merciless war against corruption" (Youssef Chahed)

Published the:  29/01/2018

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(TAP) - "We are endeavouring on a daily basis, to free the private initiative and the engines of growth and eradicate all administrative barriers. To this end, strong actions had been launched and will diligently continue, such as combating parallel economy and smuggling and the merciless war against corruption and bad governance, in addition to the mobilisation of the country’s productive capacities. The goal is to restore confidence, the basis of all economic activity," This is how Prime Minister Youssef Chahed presented Monday in Gammarth, his order of priorities for the next period.

Opening an international economic conference on "The new outlook of world economy: In what position is Tunisia, " host by eminent French economist Jaques Attali, Chahed pointed out that "2018, must imperatively be the year of investment and major projects for sustainable and inclusive growth."

"Our vision for Tunisia is that of a country open to its natural geographical space, the Mediterranean, the Maghreb, Africa but also, Europe, our historical partner. A Tunisia oriented towards digital economy, renewable energy and high value-added industries. A Tunisia is a repertoire of knowledge, skills, intelligence and a know-how that we can export. To this end, we aspire to more co-development rather than outsourcing, with our European partners," he specified.

Chahed recalled that "Tunisia is in a difficult and decisive period for the present and the future of the country. On the political level, the democratic construction continues with the difficulties and the negotiations that punctuate the political life. On the economic one, challenges are huge, hence the importance of well defining this phase to chart the course of the future. After a sluggish growth of about 1% in the 1st 6 years, Tunisia recorded an average growth of 2% in 2017 and we expect a rate of 3% in 2018. The government projects to reach 5% in 2020 and start a transformation of our business model, so it will be more job-creating."

Besides, the PM spoke about "the return in the past year of Tunisian growth engines, namely investment and export. Sectors such as tourism and mechanical industries are also experiencing a clear recovery of activity."

He said, however, that "this return to growth falls in short of our expectations and is still poor in terms of the country's capabilities. On the other hand, we are still facing budget difficulties and high deficits, which we will endeavour to reduce by the end of 2018, and 2020."

These objectives require sacrifices and create certain difficulties that we have to overcome on a daily basis, he continued, recalling that "several reforms have been started and several bills passed in parliament, such as the new law on investment, the Public-Private Partnership Law, the new Banking Law, the customs, civil service and social security reforms.

All these reforms are, according to him, vital for the country and will constitute a new base on which any economic revival of the must be built.