Saied on IMF: Foreign diktats that lead to more poverty unacceptable
The Tunisian President says the government will find a way to keep subsidies and ensure they reach only the people who actually need them.
Tunisian President Kais Saied slammed on Thursday the terms imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that will result in "more poverty" and deemed them "unacceptable".
"Regarding the IMF, foreign diktats that will lead to more poverty are unacceptable," Saied told reporters while on a visit to the coastal city of Monastir.
The IMF announced in October 2022 that it had reached an agreement with Tunisia to provide it with a loan of $1.9 billion. However, the loan was rejected by the IMF board, which led to its dismissal.
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The Fund has pushed Tunisia to remove subsidies on basic goods, particularly fuel, and "reform" state-owned companies.
"It's true that some people who don't need subsidies are benefitting from them, but we can find other ways to make sure they get to those who deserve them," Saied said.
In June 2022, the head of Tunisia's UGTT trade union confederation, Noureddine Taboubi, rejected conditions set by the IMF for a new loan to bail out the country's struggling economy.
"We reject the conditions set by the IMF, given Tunisians' low salaries, lack of means, rising poverty and unemployment," Taboubi told reporters then.
The IMF Executive Board was set to discuss the approval of the multi-billion dollar deal last December 2022, however, it was postponed awaiting a Tunisian budget - which has since been set.
The International Fund was not the only global organization to reject further lending to the North African country.
Last month, the World Bank - which was expected to fund some of the IMF's bailout to the country - suspended future loans to Tunisia after the country's President accused the organization of systemic racism.
When asked about the alternatives to the deal, Saied said Tunisians should "work on our own."
"Social peace is not a game," he affirmed.