Hundreds in Tunisia Protest Economic Overhaul

About This Source - Bloomberg QuickTake: Now

Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held financial, software, data, and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

It was founded by Michael Bloomberg in 1981, with the help of Thomas Secunda, Duncan MacMillan, Charles Zegar, and a 12% ownership investment by Merrill Lynch.

Recent from Bloomberg QuickTake: Now:

  • WTO Formally Appoints Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Its First Female Leader
  • Big Freeze Threatens Texas With Blackouts as Markets Gyrate
  • Multiple Vehicle Crash on Oklahoma City’s Turner Turnpike
  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Hundreds in Tunisia Protest Economic Overhaul” – below is their description.

    Tunisia’s finance minister said he’s fully committed to taking unpopular steps to salvage the economy before resuming loan talks with the International Monetary Fund, just weeks after protests over entrenched unemployment and poverty showed the depth of public anger.

    “Things will get better in Tunisia because this government has decided to take action,” Ali Kooli told Bloomberg Television.

    “Some of those actions aren’t easy to take” but would eventually change the economy “deeply,” he said without giving details. “We will see the fruits in very few weeks.”

    In the meantime, authorities are considering a maiden sovereign sukuk issue or turning to financial markets in the Middle East, Asia or even the U.S. to help plug a budget deficit projected at between $4 billion and $5 billion in 2021, said Kooli, 56, a former banking executive.

    The state news agency TAP later reported a government proposal to reduce working hours for state employees in order to cut public spending.

    Tunisians have heard such promises before. The North African nation has had more than 10 governments in the decade since a wave of protests toppled President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and rippled across the region.

    The political instability has hampered efforts to reduce youth unemployment and corruption, key drivers of the revolt, while repeated terrorist attacks had slowed the crucial tourism industry even before the Covid-19 pandemic depressed global travel.

    The demonstrators from mostly urban, working-class backgrounds who took to the streets across much of the country last month had legitimate grievances, Kooli said.

    His comments echo those of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who at the height of the protests said he “understood the anger and frustration of the youth,” while deploying the army to halt the looting of shops and banks and attacks on public buildings.

    Mechichi renewed pledges made by previous premiers to cut subsidy spending, sell state companies and provide more financing for young Tunisian entrepreneurs.

    But the powerful UGTT trade union, which is more aligned with President Kais Saied than Mechichi’s government, is officially opposed to divestment of state assets and has in the past threatened to take to the streets if subsidies are touched.

    The recent arrest of Nabil Karoui, founder of the Heart of Tunisia party, on graft and money-laundering charges has also exposed cracks in the government coalition at a critical time for reforms.

    Tunisia’s Assembly Backs Embattled PM’s Reshuffle Amid Unrest

    The IMF in January urged Tunisia to cut spending on salaries and handouts to help rein in the budget deficit it forecast could reach 9% of output in 2021 without reform.

    Bloomberg Quicktake: Now YouTube Channel

    Got a comment? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below. Please note comments are moderated before publication.

    In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

    Latest News about Covid-19

    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

    5 Recent Items: COVID-19

  • Did China deliberately spread disinformation about the coronavirus? | DW News
  • Homegrown coronavirus variants: What you need to know
  • NY GOP want Gov. Cuomo impeached over alleged Covid-19 cover-up
  • Coronavirus: UK’s Johnson says lockdown easing must be “cautious but irreversible”
  • The Data Dive: Death rates decrease in COVID-19 cases
  • Leave a Comment