Tunisian parliament approves $19 billion budget for 2021

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Tunisia’s parliament on Thursday approved a $19 billion budget for next year, including a fiscal deficit of 6.6%.

The finance bill passed with 110 of the 217 lawmakers in parliament voting in favour.

Tunisia expects GDP growth of 4% next year, compared with a record contraction of 7% expected this year.

Tunisia’s public finances are in a dire situation, with the government now forecasting a budget deficit of 11.4% of GDP in 2020, the highest in nearly four decades.

Tunisia will need $6.9 billion in loans to finance the deficit in 2021, including $4.8 billion of foreign loans. The government said it was also studying the possibility of issuing Islamic sukuk to finance part of the deficit, without specifying the amount of any bond issue.

($1 = 2.7069 Tunisian dinars) 

Main Photo: Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi (2-R) speaks during a parliamentary session to vote on the finance law for the 2021 financial year at the Assembly of the People’s Representatives (ARP) in Tunis, Tunisia. EPA-EFE/MOHAMED MESSARA

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