Current Account Deficit Reaches 2.4 Percent of GDP – 1st Quarter of 2014

During the first quarter of 2014, the current account deficit reached 2.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), asserted Nidhal Ouerfelli, Official Spokesman for the Prime Ministry and Minister to the Prime Minister in charge of Co-ordination and Monitoring of Economic Affairs.

He said to the media, at the end of a cabinet meeting held, Friday in Kasbah, under the chairmanship of Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, that at this pace the current account deficit could reach 12% of the GDP by the end of the year.

The government plans to maintain this rate to 7% of the GDP by the end of the year, the Minister added.

The meeting decided a set of provisions aimed to master the deficit of the trade balance and reach, by late 2014, 72% of the coverage rate of imports by exports against 60% currently.

A part of these “urgent and immediate” provisions concerning the improvement of exports, according to Ouerfelli, the return to normalcy of the production activities and phosphate transport of the mining basin, in addition to the revision of air transport traffic to boost export of vegetables and fruits.

Besides, the Ministers decided to authorise the owners of private clinics to integrate the payment of invoices in foreign currency, an operation banned previously.

In another connection, the cabinet meeting decided to make compulsory reporting of earning in foreign currency after each export operation.

In matters of import, the provisions approved concern energising the audit operations related to the progress of consumption, notably, in the energy field.

Besides, a campaign of rationalisation of energy consumption will be launched, through the distribution of some 6 million energy-saving lamps in the different governorates and the revision of the rate applied on the equipment of energy consumption.

Ouerfelli added that the measures adopted also concern maintaining the same limit registered in 2013, for import of vehicles for 2014.

Effort must also be exerted to reduce imports of a number of products available in Tunisia, in co-ordination with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In another connection, the Prime Ministry’s spokesman said that the situation of public finances improved, during the latest period despite the pressures registered. This resumption is explained by the efficiency of the monthly management of the treasury finance and revenue, he underlined.

He added that this improvement is also due to the progress of the rate of tax revenue collection registered until April, with a rise of 15 million dinars compared with the same period of the year.

According to the Minister, the improvement of the situation of public finances in Tunisia is notably due to obtaining a guarantee of the American loan worth 800 million dinars which will help to cover our expenses until July 2014, a period during which Tunisia will have to repay a large part of its debts.

Source : Tunis Afrique Presse