After a four month delay which prompted observers to convey their concerns and suspicions about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) « lending freeze, » Tunisia is set to receive the second installment of its four-year $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan. The Tunisian government has agreed to set to work immediately with « delayed structural reforms, » including reducing spending on wages in the public sector and devaluing the national currency.
On February 25, Youssef Chahed announced the appointment of new heads to several ministries. The UGTT lost not a minute in denouncing what it called a politically-driven and unilateral decision to replace Abid Briki, former UGTT Under Secretary General, with Khalil Ghariani, head of social affairs for the UTICA, as Minister of Public Service. In a statement published on February 26, the UGTT deemed the move a deliberate provocation, and made in the interest of unblocking the second installment of a $2.9 billion loan from the IMF. The conflict, which culminated in Ghariani’s refusal to accept the nomination and the subsequent suspension of the Ministry of Public Service on March 2, is the most recent flare-up in the tenuous relationship between the current government and country’s largest workers union.
إقالة وزير الوظيفة العمومية السابق عبيد البريكي تجاوزت بعدها التقني لتحمل دلالات ورسائل لأطراف عديدة من شركاء الحكومة ومعارضيها. خليفة البريكي على رأس هذه الوزارة لم يكن سوى خليل الغرياني، نائب رئيسة الاتحاد التونسي للصناعة والتجارة والمسؤول عن ملفّ المفاوضات الاجتماعية صلب هذه المنظّمة. اقتصرت التعريفات المنشورة على سيرة ذاتية مقتضبة لهذا للوزير الجديد، إلاّ أنّ قراءة قيادته لمسار المفاوضات الاجتماعية طيلة السنوات الفارطة يفشي بمستقبل التعاطي الحكومي مع استحقاقات المنصب الجديد.
Ramadan this year began on Sunday, June 29 and articles are rife with discouraging statistics on the inflation and warnings against over-consumption and waste of foodstuffs purchased in over-abundance. With food, water, electricity, and gas prices already on the rise, the expenses associated with the holy month of fasting compound what is an already unbearable economic burden for many Tunisians.