Tunisia: Economic crisis ongoing, no currency devaluation

Central bank governor outlines measures to stem trade deficit

(by Diego Minuti)(ANSAmed) - TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 5 - Over a year and a half after the revolution and the chaos that followed it, Tunisia's economy continues its downward spiral, with the latest data showing its productive apparatus unable to compete abroad. In spite of the dinar's weakness compared to the euro, Tunisia seems unable to exploit this favorable climate for exports to Europe, its main foreign market. The main problem, analysts say, is the inability of the parties to come up with a unified strategy. Unions are demanding higher wages, entrepreneurs are unwilling to reinvest or share profits, and the government is unable to mediate between the two. In a Radio Express interview, central banker Chedly Ayari denied the past days' rumors of an imminent devaluation of the dinar (worth half a euro), but called for measures to stem the rapidly growing trade deficit. Among these are measures to discourage the buying of foreign luxury goods, such as levying new taxes on imported cars. During the Zine El Abidine Ben Ali regime, most car dealerships were in the hands of the ruler's friends and relatives. They were confiscated by the new administration, which now wants to sell them off. But new levies on luxury cars might scare off prospective buyers. (ANSAmed).

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