the trade minister’s non-explanations

The Ministry of Trade and Export Development has just issued a longer statement on inflation for the seven months of 2022, where it says nothing new.

First of all, the ministry states that this is an international situation caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and their consequences for the supply of raw materials, food, industrial and energy products. And to remember that inflation records have been set all over the world and our country has not been spared.

He evokes a cyclical increase in agricultural products of 3.1% in one month due to the fall in productivity and the increase in demand, pointing in particular to the increase in tourism and the celebrations of Aïd El Idha. Two things that the ministry should have prepared for, but in light of the disruption to the supply of several foodstuffs, which directly affects the price increase and thus inflation, it turns out that this is not the case.

The ministry uses the figures published by the State Statistics Office at the beginning of August 2022. Of course, it indicates that the prices of free (non-administered) products increased by 1.2% in July and the prices of products only 0.3%. . Thus, free non-food products increased by 0.8% versus 0.4% for administered non-food products, while free food increased by 2.2% versus 0.1% for administered non-food products.

What the ministry fails to say is that if inflation is only 8.2%, it is precisely because of the control of the prices of administered products, which make up a good part of the INS curve. A basket which is no longer representative of Tunisian consumption and which should have been changed a long time ago.

Furthermore, the doctor of economics, teacher-researcher at the University of Carthage and expert consultant, Aram Belhadj, had asked about this topic to Business News that ” the choice of basket and weight is crucial to the calculation of inflation, and it explains the difference between the official inflation rate, which is in the eight digits, and the perceived and felt rate, which is rather in the double digits “.

For his part, the academic specialist in economics, consultant and entrepreneur, Wajdi Ben Rejeb, confirmed that ” the rate of inflation in Tunisia has never reflected real inflation due to the curve of calculation methods and weightings “. And to point it out “some prices have doubled and tripled while we are told about 8% inflation and the most logical thing is to have a double digit rate “.

The Ministry evokes its control operations and its famous exploits against monopoly and speculation. In fact, the ministry must work upstream and not downstream because no professional will agree to sell his products at a loss. For example, the showdown between the authorities and the egg producers. Today, the country’s dairy industry risks disappearing under the silence of stakeholders, and unfortunately it is not the only sector at risk.

Several sectors that depend on compensation are in difficulty as the compensation received is not sufficient to cover their production costs in addition to the government’s delay in paying the professionals.

The country’s finances have only made the situation worse: the government, unable to cover its expenses, delays the payment of its suppliers and goes into debt with exorbitant short-term interest to pay salaries. So it favors consumption over production and hurts its suppliers who find themselves in difficult situations. For their part, foreigners flatly refuse to serve the country unless they are paid first. This is the case for medicine, but also recently for fuel, tankers lying at the dock for several days until payment of suppliers despite the shortage.

Faced with the difficult situation of public finances, the government must stop the jargon and tell the truth to the population.

Meanwhile NOUIRA

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