The International Monetary Fund said on April 13th it had not received any request from Tunisia to re-evaluate loan conditions while also denying it had imposed ‘diktats’ on the country as it considers a bailout package, reports Reuters.
“The Tunisian authorities did not ask us to reconsider the program so far,” Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said in a press briefing in Washington, where the IMF and World Bank are holding their spring meetings.
The IMF postponed in December its board meeting on a loan program for Tunisia that was scheduled to give the authorities more time to finalize it.
But Tunisia’s President Kais Saied gave his clearest rejection yet of the terms of a stalled $1.9 billion IMF bailout package when he said last week he would not accept “diktats” and suggested that subsidy cuts could lead to unrest.
“This program has been designed, proudly by the Tunisian authorities,” Azour said during the briefing. “A team of more than 100 high civil servants around the prime minister were working on the design of the program. This is a program that will help Tunisia stabilize its economy, address – in a world of high uncertainty – the challenges in terms of getting access to finance.”
The reform package includes reducing food and energy subsidies, restructuring public companies, and reducing the public wage bill.
Without a loan, Tunisia faces a full-blown balance of payments crisis. Most debt is internal but there are foreign loan repayments due later this year, and credit ratings agencies have said Tunisia may default.