Going through the biographies of the ministers in Najla Bouden’s government, it is obvious that Samir Saïed, Minister of Economy and Planning has one of the best, if not the best CV. This on paper. On the ground, in the face of real problems, it is different.
Samir Saïed may have been through Ecole centrale de Paris, ATB, STB and Tunisie Telecom, he still cannot get a real plan to end the crisis for the country. Nor does it manage to change its president’s discourse, which again and again languishes over generalities and a worn-out economic model.
While Kaïs Saïed talks about the need to find innovative solutions and new economic models different from those experienced so far, Samir Saïed is negotiating with the IMF a reform plan identical to the one proposed by his predecessors under the governments of Hichem Mechichi, Elyes Fakhfakh and Youssef Chahed.
The main characteristics of this plan, to reform the compensation system, to freeze wages, to achieve the utopian equality of taxation and recruitment and to privatize what is privatized in public enterprises.
What did Samir Saïed bring new compared to his predecessors? Nothing. No new solution.
Did he apply, if only 1%, Kaïs Saïed’s directives regarding new approaches? Not at all.
Despite this most factual observation, Samir Saïed allows himself to tackle his predecessors and look down on them by declaring, on Tuesday 1eh November on Mosaïque FM that ” compensation is Tunisia’s real obstacle and that no government has had the courage to reform it “.
In other words, he would possess a courage that his predecessors would not have possessed.
In a burst of self-satisfaction and oversized ego, he declares that his presented plan would have been welcomed by world players and that it is time to break with the demagoguery.
However, we must remind Mr Saïed that his predecessors have a legitimacy that he does not. They were baptized by an assembly elected by the people, while he was parachuted in by a president sitting on the constitution.
The demagoguery he speaks of is a specialty of its president, who thinks with a Soviet mentality and does not distinguish between millions and billions.
As for the plan that would have been hailed, it is good to remind Mr Saïed that it is not only identical to that of his predecessors, but that he has no vision for the future. At least not like the one we see in other countries.
This government’s plan has no vision of the alternative to fossil fuels, does not even address the topic of green energy, does not foresee the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war, does not provide any solution to the current shortage of the market, does not offer any future prospects for the thousands of candidates for migration ( regular and irregular) etc.
Samir Saïed not only takes on his predecessors, pursues a policy that is 180 degrees from that presented by his president and offers no solution for the future of companies and people, but he allows himself analyzes worthy of a coffee discussion between two cranks. .
On Monday, October 31st on Wataniya 1, he says that “ we can no longer import this large amount of vehicles, which represent a drain on the Tunisian economy, savings and foreign exchange reserves”, and that “we must develop public transport “.
Does the minister pretend to ignore the fact that public transport is in a terrible state and far from meeting the needs of the citizens? That the dilapidated state of public buses and subways is downright dangerous for users? That it is not the state that imports vehicles, but private individuals, and that the state heavily taxes these imports, especially luxury cars?
Regarding the so-called bleeding of the import of vehicles, it is good to remind the Minister that the Tunisian car fleet must be renewed at regular intervals if we want to ensure road safety and the level of pollution.
In addition to the safety and ecological aspects, the majority of brands found in Tunisia (especially European) are themselves importers of parts manufactured in the country. This industrial compensation system was created in a win-win spirit under Bourguiba and allowed the creation of thousands of jobs. To date, the auto parts industry employs 85,000 people and drains the equivalent of eight billion dinars in foreign exchange, which is clearly above car imports.
It should also be noted that Tunisian car dealers employ about 28,000 people and distribute only 45,000 vehicles a year, while the demand is about 80,000 vehicles, according to Ibrahim Debache, president of the Trade Union Chamber of Car Dealers and Manufacturers.
By seeking to reduce vehicle imports, Samir Saïed risks weakening an entire ecosystem that has been well-oiled for years, affecting both employability and our exports.
In truth, Samir Saïed, with his plan for the IMF, his light-hearted remarks and the total absence of a real future vision for the country, shows that he does not know how to look beyond the tip of his nose.
Its priority is to immediately find foreign financing to meet immediate liquidity needs. Regardless of the costs that this represents in the medium and long term for the country, regardless of whether it takes future generations hostage, regardless of whether it destabilizes balanced sectors, it is the immediacy that counts for the minister and his head of government.
And when we say immediacy, it’s not even the coming months, it’s really now. While European countries are already making their populations aware of the need to reduce energy consumption this winter, Samir Saïed is completely ignoring this coming crisis in the short term, as if Tunisia was swimming on oil and gas wells.
A true technocratic minister, without any popular or even legitimate base, Samir Saïed may have one of the best pedigrees in the government and believes that he is superior to his predecessors, he is far from having the last caliber. When we think of Hédi Nouira, Mohamed Ghannouchi, Mohamed Nouri Jouini and more recently Hakim Ben Hamouda and Fadhel Abdelkéfi, we immediately see the huge setback registered in this strategic department.