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On Tunisia IMF Tells Inner City Press It Stands Ready as President Kais Saied Slams IMF Recipes

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 8 – When the International Monetary Fund held a question and answer briefing on June 8, 2023, Inner City Press asked on Tunisia, about Italy's urging IMF help while President Kais Saied says the IMF provides "ready-made recipes" for treatment without knowing the causes of the disease.

  IMF Spokesperson Julie Kozack took the question and replied, diplomatically, about strong partnership and that the IMF stands ready.

  On Zambia, on which Inner City also submitted a question, Ms. Kozack said that after the May 25 meeting there is another one, of creditors. She was also asked about a New York law forcing creditors to the table - more on this to follow.

More on Substack here

Back in March, 2023, Transcript:

Okay. I now have a question from Matthew Lee. Matthew, good morning over to you. 

Inner City Press: Sure. Thanks a lot. I wanted to ask about Tunisia. There's a lot of, in fact, yesterday at the Standard Forum Banking, excuse me, Foreign Relations Committee and Secretary Blinken has commented, Mr. Browning's talked about it. What's the status of a program? There seems to be a sense that I don't know if the comments about migration have caused some delay, or the monopolization of power by the president. But there seems to be concern among, I guess, powerful IMF member states about the status of the program. And I'd like to know what the thinking is, what the slowdown is, and what the future portends. 

MS. KOZACK: Okay. Very good. Anything else -- any other questions on Tunisia? Okay. Don't see anything else coming through. So, to take a step back and let you know where we are with Tunisia. On October 15th, 2022, IMF staff and the Tunisian authorities reached a staff level agreement to support Tunisia's economic policies with a four-year arrangement under the EFF. And this arrangement was worth about 1.9 billion US dollars.  Tunisia's IMF supported homegrown program aims to restore macroeconomic stability, strengthen social safety nets and tax equity, as well as to step up reforms and support an enabling environment for inclusive growth and sustainable job creation. The international community can greatly contribute to the success of the authorities' program through a rapid release of additional financing. The presentation of this program to the IMF Executive Board has been postponed to give the Tunisian authorities more time to complete the program requisites.  A new Board date will be set in consultation with the Tunisian authorities once the requisites are in place. And the IMF remains a strong partner of Tunisia and will continue to support the authorities in their reform efforts, including to enhance social equity. 

Inner City Press: That would -- just one follow-up. I mean, I guess I wanted to know if you're willing to -- seems like many people have expressed concern about comments about the migrant flow through Tunisia and what's viewed as a real anti-immigrant stance there. Is that when you say inclusiveness, can it be read that way? Or is that a totally separate issue? 

MS. KOZACK: So, we are concerned about the recent developments in Tunisia, and of course, we note the steps taken by the authorities to address the situation. The IMF remains engaged with Tunisia, notably to support efforts to enhance social equity and promote inclusive growth. 

Inner City Press: : Thanks a lot.

 Video will go up on IMF website - watch this site. 


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