(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) WASHINGTON, April 17 (KUNA) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday reached a staff-level agreement with the Tunisian authorities on the Fifth Review of the country's economic reform program supported by the IMF's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.
The meeting between the IMF staff team, led by Bjorn Rother, and the Tunisian economic delegation, now on a visit to Washington, was held on the sidelines of the IMF Meetings on April 11-16.
At the end of the meeting, Rother stated that the completion of the Review is subject to the approval by the IMF's Executive Board.
"Tunisia will benefit from a sixth disbursement of SDR (special drawing rights) 177 million (around USD 247 million) following the Executive Board's review that is expected to take place by early June 2019. "This will bring total disbursements under the EFF to about USD 1.6 billion and will help unlock additional financing from Tunisia's other external partners," he revealed. "We had fruitful discussions with the authorities on their economic policy agenda aimed at stabilizing and reforming the economy in the months ahead, taking into account the difficult socio-economic situation and the challenging regional environment. "The authorities and staff agreed on policy and reform measures to ensure that the budget deficit target of 3.9 percent of GDP (before grants) for 2019 can be met to contain the high debt and elevated financing needs. "In parallel, the authorities are working on strengthening the social safety net for lower-income families to help protect them from the potential impact of the reforms, supported by the new databank of vulnerable households," Rother went on.
Monetary and exchange rate policies will remain geared towards reducing inflation that threatens the standards of living of all Tunisians and on supporting an improvement in the large current account deficit through better price competitiveness. "The IMF team thanks Minister of Finance Chalghoum, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Laadhari, Minister of Major Reforms Rajhi, and Central Bank Governor El Abassi, as well as their staff for constructive discussions," he added. (end) rsr.gb