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Is a Social and Economical Collapse Unavoidable in Tunis?

Tunisia reached an agreement with the IMF in October for a $1.9bn bailout, but final ratification by the lender’s board was delayed over concerns that President Saied did not support the deal and that reforms, such as subsidy reductions, would not be implemented. “Regarding the IMF, the diktats that come from abroad and cause only more impoverishment are rejected,” Saied said on Thursday. “The alternative is that we must rely on ourselves.” James Swanston, an economist at Capital Economics, a London-based consultancy, said the rejection meant that “support that is desperately needed by the economy will not be coming”. He added that without the IMF loan, and as foreign reserves dwindled, “there was a greater risk of a sharp and disorderly fall in the value of the dinar”, the Tunisian currency. Since last year, the government has struggled to find foreign currency to pay for crucial imports such as sugar, flour, coffee and oil resulting in frequent shortages. Saied has insisted repeatedly that corruption, hoarding and market manipulation were to blame for the country’s economic woes.

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