IMF staff will visit Tunisia this month for talks on a possible financing program

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) – A small team of International Monetary Fund staff will visit Tunisia later this month for further discussions on a possible IMF-backed financing program, the global lender said on Thursday. citing good progress in discussions to date.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the visit comes after several months of consultations with the Tunisian authorities over their request for an IMF-supported program.

“A small team from the IMF plans to visit Tunisia for further discussions with the authorities later this month…to build on what I would describe as good progress in understanding their reform policies,” he said. he declared.

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The powerful UGTT union, which has more than a million members, said on Thursday it could not accept reforms Tunisia had offered as part of a deal, including a five-year wage freeze in the public sector and the elimination of all subsidies within four years.

The fund said the program being discussed was prepared by the government and not by the IMF. IMF officials also meet regularly with external stakeholders, including the UGTT union.

“The reform program that is being discussed with the IMF is a program prepared by the authorities,” said a second IMF spokesman. “We have been in contact with the authorities over the past few months to try to understand their reform policies.”

Tunisia faces a political and economic crisis as President Kais Saied focuses on rewriting the constitution after establishing one-man rule despite warnings of an impending collapse in public finances that threatens national bankruptcy .

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Tim Ahmann

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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