The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued an optimistic forecast for the Tunisian economy, predicting growth of more than six percent over the coming year. Nonetheless, the IMF stated, an even more impressive growth and job creation is possible if the Tunisian government further liberalized its economy.
In its report, the IMF urged the Tunisian to complement its ongoing trade liberalization with the European Union with comprehensive trade and price liberalization back home. This, the IMF said, should be done in conjunction with structural reforms.
In its report, the IMF noted that Tunisia began cutting tariffs against EU manufactured goods in 1996. However, trade restrictions remain high and progress in this area must be made achieving a free trade status with Europe, the IMF said.
The IMF emphasized the importance of Tunisia continuing to reduce its fiscal deficit, adding that more ambitious deficit reduction targets should be set in the future, considering the country’s good short-term growth prospects. Tunisia has reported an average annual growth rate of 5.7 percent between 1996 and 2000.
The IMF also said structural reforms would help improve growth prospects and help reduce Tunisia's 15 percent unemployment rate. It commended the government for its plan to privatize 41 state enterprises over the coming year. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )