Tunisia: Parliamentary commission approves $800 million government borrowing

Tunisia’s Finance, Planning and Development Commission at the approved the government’s request to rely on foreign debt markets and borrow $800 million to fund the 2019 budget, Wednesday.

The vote was carried by 13-2 in the parliamentary commission.

“The value of the loans approved by the parliament for the state during 2019 is 10 billion dinars (3.5 billion dollars),” said Finance Minister Ridha Chalghoum, Wednesday.

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The minister went on to say that, the government “is committed to ensuring that the deficit rate in extreme cases is 3.9 per cent, which was ratified by the Parliament in the Finance Act for the current year.”

In early May, the Tunisian Parliament’s Finance, Planning and Development Commission had rejected the government’s borrowing request to finance the 2019 budget. However, in a second letter on 3 May, the government sent a second request.

Tunisia’s budget for the year 2019 has set borrowing at 10.142 billion Tunisian dinars (3.5 billion dollars).

Tunisia’s debt reached record levels of 74 per cent of GDP by the end of 2018. This led to the opposition accusing the government of seeking easy solutions through borrowing rather than seeking to boost investment and or pushing for exports.