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Tunisia sees 2011 economic growth below one per cent
Tunisia's finance minister says economy needs $4 billion to recover
Reuters , Saturday 2 Apr 2011
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Tunisia expects little growth in its economy this year and needs $4 billion in foreign loans to help it recover from the aftermath of a revolt that toppled President Zine Abidine Ben Ali, Finance Minister Jalloul Ayed said Friday.
Speaking at a news conference, Ayed said foreign investment was seen to be declining by one billion Tunisian dinars.
"Growth for the whole of 2011 is forecast between zero and one per cent," Ayed said.
President Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests on 14 January after 23 years of autocratic rule. He fled to Saudi Arabia. Interim authorities have struggled to restore stability in the North African country, but last month laid out a plan for a transition to democracy.
"Tunisia needs foreign loans of $4 billion for 2011," Ayed said. Ayed said Tunisia's debts to banks and foreign countries totalled nearly 16 billion dinars ,but that it would not seek a revision of these.
"Tunisia will not ask for its foreign debts to be revised to avoid risks of foreign intervention in own political decisions," he said.
Ayed said the 2011 budget would be adopted at the end of May. He said some changes were being discussed, and that the government would increase financing for regional development by 255 million dinars. "Some major projects may be updated or cancelled," he said, without giving details.
Ayed also said 20,000 jobs would be created in the public sector and another 20,000 in the private sector this year. Ben Ali's government had last year forecast growth of 5.4 per cent for 2011 and the creation of some 80,000 jobs.
Tunisia's central bank said Wednesday it had cut bank reserve requirements by five percentage points to boost liquidity.
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