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Suspicions of Corruption About Fate of $36.6 Bln Gained by Tunisia

The head of the financial committee in the Tunisian parliament, Usman Shoushan, revealed on Tuesday that the volume of loans and grants received by the Tunisian state since the beginning of the political transition in 2011 until 2021 amounted to 113.3 billion Tunisian dinars (around $36.6 billion). Shoushan stated that the auditing process revealed that Tunisia obtained 325 loans during that period, until President Kais Saied declared exceptional measures in the country in 2021, dissolved the parliament, and dismissed the government.

“According to the audit report, it has been shown that a portion of these funds did not go through the Tunisian Central Bank,” said Shoushan. He further mentioned in statements to “Radio Jawhara FM” that “there are suspicions of corruption surrounding the fate of these loans, including those related to stalled projects, among them a hospital project in the city of Kairouan.” Shoushan also affirmed that there are loans that were obtained and repaid with interest without the completion of the projects they were allocated for.

President Saied, who dissolved most constitutional bodies dating back to before 2021, previously confirmed that he resorted to declaring exceptional measures in order to combat corruption and chaos within state institutions, emphasizing his intent to “cleanse” the administration. In other news, Tunisian Minister of Economy and Planning Samir Said revealed that the public finances of the country are “limited and will remain limited for a few years until the financial directions are regained.”The minister was quoted as saying that due to the limitation of public finances, there will be a special focus on the differential and competitive advantages of the regions.

The minister also emphasized the importance of private investment in boosting growth and improving the state’s financial situation, acknowledging that the path of investment and business “faces several difficulties, especially in terms of legislation and laws, and administrative procedures are complicated.” Tunisia is facing a severe financial crisis, which worsened after the breakdown of an agreement with experts from the International Monetary Fund to secure a financing package worth $1.9 billion.