finance & economy

WB urges Tunisia to expedite reforms agreed in 2018

December 15, 2020

(TAP)- The World Bank urged Tunisia to expedite reforms agreed in 2018, as part of commitments to provide finacial support to the country.

These are key reforms covering the financial sector, service digitisation, the reinforcement of the public-private partnership (PPP) and the overhaul of public institutions, WB Resident Representative in Tunisia Tony Verheijen Monday told the parliament's Committe on Finance, Planning and Development.

The WB official said there is need to speed up the promulgation of financial reform-related legislation and put in place a legislative framework to provide financial support to Tunisia.

Verheijen shed light, in this connection, on bills tabled to the House of People's Representatives (HPR), including the ones on financial inclusion and insurance against natural disasters.

He also said 945 million dollars committed by the WB to Tunisia were not disbursed yet. He proposed the disbursement and use of these funds to bolster investment.

In another connection, the WB proposed to develop programmes or 'reform contracts' so as to improve the performance of public sector institutions and increase their revenues. The reform process of a number of Tunisian state-owned banks was highlighted.

Developing microcredits and increasing their ceiling is likewise of paramount importance along with the digitisation of payment services, in particular.

With regard to subsidisation, the World Bank called for the adoption of a unique identifier to have subsidies channeled towards real recipients.

WB delegation member Mona Hemdane Lajnef was critical of the system of authorisations in connection to a number of economic activities and called for easing procedures.

Chair of the Committee on Finance Haykel Mekki said cooperation with the WB in the first years that followed independence mainly focused on public education and infrastructure funding without excessive conditions.

He wondered if this relationship can be restored while preserving the country's sovereignty.

'We do not want a coloniser/colonised relationship. We rather seek to preserve our traditional partnership based on friendship and a win-win relationship.'

Verheigen said the WB respects Tunisia's sovereignty. Tunisia, he added, is one of the countries that will get the bank's support to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was held at the request of the WB. Regular meetings will be scheduled to follow up the financial institution's projects in Tunisia and secure coordination.

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