Currency and Banking
In the area of importation of goods, all import documents which involve payments must be handled through authorized banks. Foreign currency may be purchased from the Central Bank of Tunisia (CBT) or from banks which have been designated by the CBT for the payment of imports, subject to licensing restrictions and provided that the license has been obtained prior to importation. Payments for exports received in foreign currency ordinarily must be repatriated within ten days of payment.
Capital transfers are subject to the approval of the CBT. Non-residents are allowed to repatriate invested capital and net proceeds of such investment in foreign currency.
The CBT monitors the commercial, development and investment banks operating in Tunisia. The commercial banks provide short and mid-term credit. Development banks grant only long-term credit for the financing of large scale projects in tourism, agriculture and industry. Investment banks, which were recently created, are responsible for promoting investment projects and managing capital risks.
New legislation enacted in 1994 is aimed at broadening the range of banking services and products available, easing restrictions regarding loan approvals, and increasing competition in the banking industry. These new laws also created a new type of banking category which specializes in providing financial management banking services for business enterprises.