Faced with widespread unconsciousness, the state must take matters into its own hands. This was made by a member of Harak on July 25, Hatem Yahyaoui, on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, commenting on the statements of the President of the Republic on the subject of import restrictions to remedy the trade balance deficit.
On Monday, during a meeting with his head of government, the tenant of Carthage considered “sensible” the import of certain products – especially cosmetics and food for pets – while the trade deficit is growing more and more. Kaïs Saïed insisted on the issue of supplying the market with food, in particular, and the fight against speculators, suggesting that the currencies earmarked for importing luxury products should be used to import food.
However, according to available figures, for example, the perfumery sector represented only 0.6% of Tunisian imports in 2018, according to a study presented by Utica to denounce the consequences of the spread of informality on the sector, perfumeries and cosmetics, and the impact of regulations and tax burdens.
” Tunisia spends 50 million dinars on perfume and toilet water alone “, Hatem Yahyaoui added at the microphone to Wassim Ben Larbi in the Expresso program on Express FM, noting that the restrictions on certain products ” not necessary would happen gradually.
He added that citizens should exercise wisdom, be aware of the state of public finances and help mobilize the necessary resources to close the state budget.
Believing that certain parties were working after the revolution to torpedo certain sectors – especially phosphate – to undermine the national economy, he raised the issue of corporate citizens as an alternative to alleviate the difficulties faced by certain sectors such as agriculture . “A gathering of 20 farmers can give birth to an economic entity capable of producing and finding the necessary financing for operations,” he said.
The trade balance deficit worsened by 61.25% in the first eight months of 2022. It stood at -16.899 million dinars (MD) at the end of August 2022 against -10.480 MD a year earlier, with a coverage ratio of 5.3 points from 73.9%. to 68.6% according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS). According to the same source, imports registered an increase of +34% due to the increase in imports of energy (+90.2), raw materials and semi-finished products (+38.7%), consumption (+14.1%) and investment goods ( +38.7%). +11.2%).
Reacting to the same issue, the spokesperson of the National Chamber of Specialized Store Chain Companies under the Tunisian Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts (Utica), Chokri Jarraya, stressed that the deficit on the trade balance came mainly from the country’s energy imports.
Noting that the state should work more on its exports, he called for the promotion of certain sectors that bring significant revenue to the state, such as phosphate and pharmaceuticals. In this sense, he condemned the anarchy prevailing in the phosphate industry and the administrative delays in the Ministry of Health in issuing licenses for the marketing of medicines.
Chokri Jaraya also argued that the state should review its strategy in terms of importing wheat, deeming it unacceptable that the state provides negligible support to local farmers – who are capable of ensuring the country’s self-sufficiency – while budgets allocate colossal amounts to wheat imports.
In the same context, he pointed out the need to define the products that are really not necessary before embarking on restrictions, and warned of the consequences of such a policy on the local market. “Every time a product disappears from the official circuit, it is in the informal sector that we find it”, he clarified.