Tunisia sees $1bn IMF loan deal in May
Tunis, April 1, 2013
Tunisia expects to sign a $ billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month after a delay due to the crisis that followed the killing of an opposition politician in February, the finance minister was quoted as saying on Monday.
A report on Al-Arabiya television quoted Elyess Fakhfakh as saying the precautionary loan agreement would be reached "by May".
Last week, the IMF said it would send a team to Tunis between April 8 and 15 to discuss the loan.
Tunisia plunged into crisis on February 6 as the assassination of secular politician Chokri Belaid ignited the biggest street protests since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago. But a new government has now been formed and protests have died down.
Al-Arabiya also quoted Fakhfakh as saying Tunisia planned to issue its first sovereign sukuk (Islamic bond), in July to raise $700 million.
Tunisia's new government is keen to develop Islamic finance, which was neglected for ideological reasons by Ben Ali's government. A Tunisian sukuk issue could potentially attract large amounts of Islamic funds from the wealthy Gulf.-Reuters