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Cabinet meeting

Published the:  31/01/2012

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January 31, 2012 - TAP - The Cabinet held on Tuesday its regular meeting under Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali's chairmanship.
Several files were looked at, notably the country's security situation, the Tourism Ministry's action plan for the sector's promotion in the current season and Tunisia's participation in the Davos Economic Forum.
The Cabinet voiced satisfaction at the improvement of the security situation in the country and the near-normal recovery of economic activity, Human Rights and Transitional Justice Minister and official spokesman of the Government Samir Dilou said at the end of the meeting.
The Cabinet, he added, examined two draft laws: the first one provides for the ratification of a loan agreement between Tunisia and the Arab Economic and Social Development Fund (FADES) last January 12, to contribute to the funding of the urgent support program to small private projects, which is worth 75 million dinars (MTD); the second one stipulates the ratification of another loan agreement, also concluded between Tunisia and FADES on the same date, to contribute to financing the integrated development programme, costing 210 MTD.
The Cabinet, then, listened to a report presented by Tourism Minister Elyès Fakhfakh on the sector's situation, the indicators recorded in 2011 and the preliminary promotion plan for the new tourist season. Mr. Fakhfakh pointed out that 65 MTD have been appropriated for the tourism sector's promotion in 2012.
He announced that Tunisia will play host, next February 3-4, to a meeting of tour operators, to be attended by journalists, diplomats and national and foreign figures.
Besides, the official spokesman for the Government said that the Cabinet was briefed by Agriculture Minister Mohamed Ben Salem on the farming sector's situation: the minister pointed to the beneficial fall-out of the recent important rainfalls across the country's various regions and their contribution to increasing water reserves in Tunisian dams to reach 1.657 million m3, compared with 1.295 million m3 in the same period last year.
The Cabinet took note of the efforts exerted to resolve the problem of fertilizers shortage, he added, specifying that a tender had been launched to import 40,000 additional tones to resolve this scarcity resulting from the disruptions caused to production in the Gabes chemicals complex.
On the other hand, the Cabinet reviewed the recommendations of the commission in charge of following up the social situation in the Gafsa governorate and the low-income housing and working-class districts renovation program.
Moreover, the Cabinet discussed the consultation meetings scheduled starting from January 31 between Government and the parties represented in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). These meetings, Mr. Dilou specified, will be extended to involve later on parties not represented in the Assembly, civil society components and national personalities: they will focus on the development effort in the country, elections, Tunisia's foreign relations, drafting of the new Constitution, support to the parties' activities, the information sector and examining such new phenomena as violence and extremism. 

Regarding the security situation in Tunisia and Government's delay in enforcing the law aimed to put an end to the sit-ins, the official spokesman for the government underlined that all the sit-ins do not necessarily meet social demands, pointing out that non-enforcement of the law and not resorting to the security solutions has to do with "Government's appreciation that the legitimate claims in exceptional conditions deserve that the government demonstrates level-headedness, even when the law is not respected."

Accordingly, he underlined that the Government resorted, during the last days to the enforcement of the law to put an end to sit-ins by summoning the public prosecutors accompanied by the security forces and the national Army, in addition to the sit-ins lifted thanks to dialogue with the social sides.

For his part, Minister to the Prime Minister in charge of the economic and social files Ridha Saïdi made an exposé on Tunisia's participation in the 42nd session of the Davos Economic Forum, underlining that Tunisia took part in this session as a honorary guest, with a delegation led by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who had several meetings with the economic and political personalities, including a delegation of American congressmen.

He specified that the American delegation underlined, on this occasion, that the law adopted by the American Congress commending the Tunisian Revolution encourages the American firms to invest in Tunisia with the backing of the US Treasury. The delegation voiced readiness to incite Congress to adopt a new law which will institute dialogue between the two countries for the creation of a free-trade zone between Tunisia and the United States of America, in such a manner as to open up new prospects for the Tunisian economy.

The Tunisian delegation, he went on saying, also had meetings with political figures from Asia, Africa, Arab officials and leaders of large multinationals, as well as meetings with the President of the Kuwaiti Investment Establishment, who asserted that this establishment is projecting to achieve large-scale investments in Tunisia in the fields of infrastructure, tourism and economy.

In another connection, the Tunisian delegation had a meeting with British Prince Andrew who voiced readiness to support the Tunisian Revolution process and contribute, from his symbolic position in his country, to the promotion of Tunisian tourism and to call on the British promoters to invest in the pioneering country of the Arab peoples' revolution.

Mr. Saïdi said that the Tunisian participation in the one-day-and-a-half Davos Forum was "positive and successful".