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Government seeks to "reposition Tunisia at forefront of southern Mediterranean countries at level of industrial export to EU by 2020" (Chahed)

Published the:  12/04/2018

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(TAP) – “Repositioning Tunisia at the forefront of southern Mediterranean countries at the level of industrial export to the European Union by 2020 is one of the government’s main objectives for the coming period,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Thursday in Tunis.

“We are committed to speed up the progress of reforms and to take the necessary measures to reach this objective,” he pointed out in his remarks at the opening of the national conference on “Industry and Small-and Medium-sized Enterprises: Guarantor of Economic Development.”

The 2017 and early 2018 figures show a significant improvement in the economic sector, he indicated.

In this regard, Chahed underlined that industrial exports had exceeded 31 billion dinars in 2017, adding that “exports are expected to edge up by 15% annually to reach 47 billion dinars in 2020, in conformity with the government’s action plan that provides also for an increase in high-technological-value industrial exports to reach 20% of the overall exports against 15% in 2017.”

The PM specified that the industrial investments made are expected to reach 3 billion dinars in 2020 against 2,259 billion dinars in 2017.

As regard employment, Chahed pointed out that in spite of the difficulties facing the industrial sector, the recorded figures show that the sector currently offers 505 thousand jobs and will achieve a goal of 580 thousand jobs in 2020, with an annual average growth of 25 thousand jobs.

Besides, he recognised that the enterprises, mainly SMEs, are encountering important difficulties such as the decline in productivity, the high cost of bank loans and its impact on the investment’s profitability, the lack of training in some specialities, the slowness and complication of administrative procedures, the lack of support to national enterprises to set up abroad.

In this connection, he pointed out that the government has already taken several measures to remedy these problems, announcing that a decree-law will be tabled next week, setting the deadlines for all the necessary authorisations for project achievement and the law on investment will be implemented, notably a regards the administration’s silence that will be regarded as an agreement after 60 days.

With a view to boosting investment, the PM indicated that some 400 million dinars had been dedicated to 600 SMEs in 2018 as part of a three-year plan to help them achieve their financial upgrading.

Chahed also announced the launch of a pilot project: “the Tunisian Industry Champions” to support 50 enterprises active in innovative sectors.

A study will also be conducted to achieve the “Tunis Technology City” project over an overall area of 500 hectares, 250 hectares of which will be devoted to industralisation and automotive components, he added.

The conference is an opportunity to discuss the projects, programmes and measures that the government is planning to achieve during the 2018-2020 period, Chahed indicated.