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9 Apr, 2023 14:01

African state eyes turn to BRICS – media

The Tunisian president earlier said the cash-strapped nation would reject an IMF bailout
African state eyes turn to BRICS – media

Tunisia is considering becoming a member of the BRICS economic bloc, the spokesman for the pro-presidential ‘July 25 Movement’ told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency on Sunday.

Mahmoud bin Mabrouk cited unnamed sources in the North African country’s government as saying the option of joining the organization – comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is being considered among the other possibilities.

“I have information that Tunisia is seriously considering joining the BRICS group,” bin Mabrouk said.

Earlier this week, Tunisian President Kais Saied spoke out against “foreign diktats” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is in stalled talks over a bailout package for the cash-stripped nation.

The head of state highlighted that the terms of a $2 billion loan deal proposed by the Washington-based organisation would worsen the poverty crisis in the heavily indebted country.

The deal, which was supposed to be approved in December 2022, was postponed after Tunisia failed to meet key commitments. The IMF has pushed the government to remove state subsidies on basic goods, including food and energy, and reduce the public wage bill.

The government of Tunisia, which is on the brink of a full-blown balance of payments crisis, has proposed a 26.4% cut in subsidy expenditure to $2.89 billion in its 2023 budget. However, it has not raised fuel prices this year, apparently to avoid public anger after inflation reached 10.3%, the highest level in four decades.

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