IMF reaches staff-level deal with Tunisia for loan programme

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Tunisia has reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $1.9 billion rescue package that could be finalised in December, the fund said on Saturday.

Tunisia has been in urgent need of international help for months as it grapples with a crisis in public finances that has raised fears it may default on debt and has contributed to shortages of food and fuel according to government critics.

The staff-level agreement is for a 48-month package through the IMF’s extended fund facility to restore macroeconomic stability, strengthen social safety nets and tax equity and bring reforms that would foster growth and create jobs.

Tunisia’s economy had already been badly buffeted for years as political uncertainty and militant attacks hit its crucial tourism sector even before fresh challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and global commodities squeeze from the Ukraine war.

The IMF warned that in the near term growth would likely slow with more pressure on inflation and on the external and fiscal balances.

IMF and the Egypt: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Egyptian authorities have agreed to finalise work to reach a staff-level agreement ‘very soon’, the multilateral lender said on Saturday.

“IMF staff and the Egyptian authorities have held very productive in-person discussions on the margins of the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings and made substantial progress on all policies”, the statement from IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said. They include monetary and exchange rate policies to anchor inflation expectations, improve monetary policy transmission and the functioning of the foreign exchange market and bolster Egypt’s external resilience.

The policies would enable the country to gradually and sustainable rebuild foreign reserves, the statement said.

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