Government lowers economic growth figures from 4.5 percent due to events at home and in Europe
Tunisia's Islamist-led government has cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 4 percent, down from a previous forecast of 4.5 percent due to events at home and in Europe, its finance minister said on Tuesday.
Tunisia plunged into political crisis on February 6 when the assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid ignited the biggest street protests since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.
An uprising in January 2011 forced Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to leave Tunisia after 23 years in power, sparking the "Arab Spring" revolts that have swept the Middle East.
"Because of some reasons, including the crisis in Europe and crisis at home we decided to reduce expectations for growth in 2013 by 0.5 percent to 4 percent, compared with 4.5 percent expected," Elyess Fakhfakh told reporters.
Tunisia said on Monday it plans to cut the budget deficit for this year to 5.1 percent of gross domestic product compared with the previous target of 5.9 percent.
Tunisian inflation jumped to 6.5 percent in March, the highest rate in at least five years, reflecting high food prices, and the economy is struggling due to the slowdown in the euro zone, the main market for Tunisia's exports and the source of most of its tourists.
The International Monetary Fund is very close to reaching an agreement with Tunisia on providing a precautionary credit line worth $1.75 billion, Amine Mati, head of an IMF mission to Tunisia, said on Tuesday.