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Country Forecast Tunisia September 2017

Country Forecast Tunisia September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 1698502
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2017-18: Efforts to boost the role of private enterprise are hindered by political instability and union opposition.


2019-21: The government slowly dismantles the crony capitalism that grew under the regime of the former president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, thereby boosting competition. However, this is a drawn-out process as vested interests fight back.


Policy towards foreign investment


2017-18: Foreign direct investment in export-oriented industry continues to be encouraged, especially in the interior, in accordance with elements of the investment law approved in 2016.


2019-21: Some of the more controversial elements of a new investment law are finally implemented. These include the removal of the 49% limit on foreign ownership in most services not producing entirely for export.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2017-18: Barriers to trade in industrial goods, especially with the EU, are eased, but progress is slow in negotiations with the EU over free trade in services and agriculture.


2019-21: Exchange-rate liberalisation is carried out, but full convertibility is delayed as the local economy remains weak.


Taxes


2017-18: The government moves to simplify the taxation system and crack down on tax evasion. The total business tax rate remains relatively high.


2019-21: Corporate taxes are applied more evenly across sectors and both onshore and offshore foreign-investment regimes.


Financing


2017-18: The transparency of the financial system improves under banking laws adopted in mid-2016 and political pressure on public banks eases. The financial system strengthens but remains weak by global and regional standards.


2019-21: Banque centrale de Tunisie (the central bank) resumes efforts to apply Basel Committee prudential norms. More local banks merge as competition rises. Stockmarket listings increase.


The labour market


2017-18: Labour remains plentiful, but skills shortages persist. Worker militancy remains an issue, and strikes and sit-ins in support of better conditions remain commonplace.


2019-21: Reforms to the system of training begin to bear fruit, but the economy does not grow quickly enough to reduce unemployment below 10%. Plans to create jobs by making the labour law more flexible face widespread union opposition.


Infrastructure


2017-18: Investment in infrastructure expands, although it is constrained by the weakness of the local economy and the slowness of financing to materialise. Investors are put off by political and policy uncertainty.


2019-21: The upgrade of seaports, airports, roads and railways picks up, part-funded by concessional loans, as well as through public-private partnerships. Electricity-generation capacity grows, using thermal, wind and solar power.



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