The former president of the Tunisian Investment Authority (TIA)Khalil Laâbidiexplained that the significant increase in investment according to the latest published figures was due to a comparison with a year of blocking and suspension of economic activities, namely 2021.
Invited on May 13, 2022 by Khouloud Mabrouk on the air MFIKhalil Laâbidi returned to the sector that recorded the most investment. He clarified that it was an investment in the form of a capital increase in a bank, i.e. a portfolio investment and does not lead to job creation. ” There is no real investment… IThis is an investment in the form of a capital expansion in a bank, i.e. a portfolio investment and does not lead to job creation “, he said.
Khalil Laâbidi emphasized the impact of the resumption of economic activity on citizens’ employability and daily life. He mentioned the organization of Tunisia investment Forum and the promises it had brought with it. He attributed the lack of realization and concretization of these promises to political instability. ” There was subsequently a new government that considered the forum a failure… He chose not to fulfill the promises. He destroyed what was done instead of utilizing it as a base and moving things forward…. However, we had as guests kings and businessmen who wanted to invest… Take the example of Kairouan hospital, ieThis is a project created thanks to this forum and whose funds have been mobilized. It is blocked until now. We do not have the necessary execution capacity… There is no more of discipline or teamwork within government that ensures minimal visibility “, He continued.
He claimed that the blocking and non-implementation of projects was due to the complexity of the proceduresadministrative procedures and accusations made at random. He mentioned the difficulties encountered during the expropriation of land. He also spoke about the implementation of the project and the release of funds in stages and the issues related to good governance. “ We are not aware of our true absorptive capacity. We have access to more funds, however we do not have the experience or the governmental capacity needed to implement the projects… We have no real legal obstacles, ieIt’s a problem with law enforcement and the lack of will and courage on the part of those in power… We are preparing to amend the Investment Law implemented in 2017, while the implementing decrees regarding this text have still not been published. This won’t change anything! Administrations and managers are afraid of… They are openly accused of corruption! », he lamented.
Regarding an agreement between Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)Khalil Laâbidi explained that national authorities were accountable to an institution from which they borrowed money. He emphasized the critical economic situation in the country. He claimed that the expected reforms were known to everyone. ” The IMF expects a reduction of the framework for compensation, especially the one that applies to hydrocarbons and to control the wage bill. The IMF specifies that there are countries three times larger than us with half of our wage costs. There is a discrepancy between this and the creation of wealth in Tunisia… The IMF expects more rigor on wages… Regarding public enterprises, I would say that any state is a bad private project manager…. The state cannot compete with private companies and must limit itself to monopolistic sectors such as weapons, health, electricity and water “, he added.
Khalil Laâbidi explained that the state was not seeking profitability. Tunisia must find a solution. This does not necessarily mean resorting to privatisation. “ L’UGTT has never declared its opposition to privatisation. He called for dialogue and review of companies on a case-by-case basis. The union is ready to study rescue plans “, he said.
He stressed the importance of finding an agreement with the IMF that would enable an economic revival by introducing deep structural reforms. According to him, this will lead to a large ambitious project. He considered such a thing unlikely as the government seeks stability and social peace.