IMF says inching close to Tunisia deal
Tunis, April 16, 2013
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is very close to reaching an agreement with Tunisia on providing a precautionary credit line worth $1.75 billion, a senior IMF official told reporters on Tuesday.
Tunisia has asked for IMF support to ease financial problems suffered since a revolution that toppled the former regime two years ago; a deal was delayed by political uncertainty after the killing in February of opposition politician Chokri Belaid.
Amine Mati, head of an IMF mission to Tunisia, said talks on the precautionary credit line were at a very advanced stage and would continue in coming days.
"Maybe we can sign a deal for the loan in May," Mati said, adding that the IMF was pleased by economic reforms in Tunisia and was not imposing policies on the government.
On Monday, a senior Tunisian official, who declined to be named, said an agreement on the loan had effectively been reached, and it would be signed next month.
Although it has not publicly commented in detail on the policies which it wants Tunisia to adopt, the IMF is believed by analysts to want cuts to fuel and food subsidies to strengthen state finances - policies which are politically sensitive.
Mati said on Tuesday that he expected Tunisia's economy to grow about 4 per cent this year with inflation averaging 6 per cent.-Reuters