Food shortages are the latest worry for many Tunisians in a country with a spiralling economy and an autocratic president who is ready to point the finger at others, deflecting blame and political aprobrium.
On Monday May 22nd, President, Kais Saied, accused “known parties” of deliberately inciting a bread shortage crisis in the country.
According to The National, during a visit to the Ministry of Agriculture, President Saied emphasized the severity of the current situation by stating the shortage “must be resolved within the upcoming few hours.” President Saied went on to express that the bread shortage could be a way for certain parties to exploit the situation and create shortages in other essential goods, such as petrol.
In a video from the official Tunisian Facebook page, President Saied elaborated on the current shortages by stating: “the issue of bread shortage is completely unacceptable, and the lack of basic materials of all kinds is a red line…a number of circles and lobbies are seeking to fuel the situation, and their names are known.”
Though Tunisia is experiencing a renewed shortage of bread, it is in addition to the multitude of other ongoing challenges faced by Tunisians, who have been suffering from sugar, cooking oil, coffee, milk, and butter shortages for several months, despite aid from neighbouring Libya. These shortages primarily stem from the financial crisis faced by the government as it scrambles to avoid bankruptcy while negotiating a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. President Saied even accused officials in the Tunisian public sector of prioritizing their own political interests and deliberately instigating various crises: “their intention is to worsen the situation, but we will put an end to it…if they believe they can escape accountability, they are mistaken.”