In an exclusive interview with AfricanManager, Ridha Saidi, an advisor to the Prime Minister in charge of major projects, said that the government spares no effort to find “reasonable and practical” solutions to crisis.
He blamed all parties for the crisis, saying they are normally required to play their essential role in calming the spirits and ensuring that the claims are moderate rather than “unreasonable”.
On another front, he announced the setting up of a new IT device dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the measures announced by the Prime Minister.
How do you assess the recent visit of the Prime Minister in Tataouine?
At the outset, it is worth recalling that this visit is part of a series of visits planned in seven governorates, together with members of his government. Indeed, Tataouine, Sfax, Médenine, Kef, Tozeur, Kairouan and Kasserine are targeted by these visits.
What are the objectives of these visits?
The Prime Minister, accompanied by a large ministerial delegation wants to have an idea of the reality of development in each governorate, in a direct way.
In addition, it is an opportunity to review the sites or projects currently being carried out in these zones, and secondly to announce the new projects that will start in two years.
The important thing to emphasize is that we are limited by specific deadlines to achieve these projects.
At this level, the Prime Ministry, in collaboration with the ministers responsible for monitoring the announced projects, works to detail the announcements of each program according to the sectors.
How is it going to happen?
In order to accomplish this mission, a new computer device dedicated to monitoring the implementation of the measures announced by the Prime Minister and those which will be implemented as part of his series of visits to several governorates of the country will soon be set in motion.
This mechanism, designed in partnership with the National Center for Informatics (CNI), will initially cover the governorates of Medenine, Sfax and Tataouine, before being extended to
the other regions that the PM plans to visit, Namely Kairouan, Kef, Tozeur, Kebili and Kasserine.
This mechanism, called the “Implementation Mechanism”, is intended to provide immediate information on the projects announced, the progress of their implementation work and the impediments affecting them.
This is an important step, particularly in providing all stakeholders, including the Prime Minister and ministers, with updated data on these projects.
But if obstacles arise, what would your reaction be?
It’s simple. These blockages and dysfunctions, as soon as established, will be examined by the Committee of blocked projects under the Prime Minister, which will help to speed up the implementation of the programs within the set deadlines and above all to put an end to the policy of illusory and untenable promises.
To this will be added the planned creation of a committee composed of regional deputies, regional authorities and the government whose mission is to take stock of the progress of projects in all the governorates.
To date, blocked projects (public and private) in 17 regions have been identified.
And yet, several parties pointed at this recent visit to Tataouine, claiming that it failed. What do you think?
On the contrary, it was a successful and not a scenic visit, especially since it has been thoroughly prepared through no fewer than three cabinet meetings and coordination meetings with the ministries concerned, in addition to the mission entrusted to Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, Imed Hammami to monitor the implementation of the 64 measures announced for the benefit of the region.
I take this opportunity to denounce what has been called deception, mostly deliberate. Many parties have said that the region of Tataouine is full of immense wealth exploited by dozens of oil companies, when in fact the latter are seven of which only one is active.
It is for this reason, but also for the purposes of transparency, that the Ministry of Energy and Mining has been instructed, in co-ordination with the CNI, to provide detailed information on oil contracts, volume of production and the sales carried out, and this to the effect of lifting all ambiguity and barring the road to all the accusations.
Something to add?
In addition to this work, all parties are held accountable, including political parties, social organizations, civil society components, who are required to play their essential role of calming the minds, to ensure that claims are moderate rather than “unreasonable”.
This is important insofar as some oil companies are considering leaving Tunisia because of the restrictions to which they are subjected at present.
The Government is making every effort to find “reasonable and practical” solutions in order to get out of the crisis, by allocating, for example under the Five-Year Development Plan, a budget of 670 million dinars to public projects, a qualitative change compared to previous budgets.
What is your reading of the current economic situation in such a conjuncture marked by social instability?
The situation is improving and positive trends have been posted. We may also cite the rise in phosphate production (+ 46%), its transfer (+ 16%), the improvement of tourist activity (+ 30%), and the forecast for the entry of 6.5 million tourists during this year.
In addition to these indicators, remittances from Tunisians abroad are expected to improve. To achieve this, an awareness-raising campaign aimed at this community will soon be launched. The aim is to encourage this Diaspora to better contribute to the economic circuit.
A communication program will be put in place to properly accomplish this mission.
In addition to these positive indicators, funding is expected from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union.
Continuing at this pace, it will be easy to achieve the growth rate set at the beginning of this year, 2.5%.
What about the advancement of major projects, such as Sport City?
These mega projects are not progressing. Several obstacles hamper their evolution. This is the case of Sport City, which has not made any notable progress.
Concerning the Tunis Financial Harbor, it has not made progress, despite the fact that the government has shown patience in the face of a few problems and is working to facilitate the implementation of this project, the cost of which is approximately 3 billion US dollars (nearly 6.5 billion Tunisian dinars).
With regard to the Sama Dubai project of Emirati group Abu Khater, no developments have been recorded; this is the same for the Tunisia Economic City (TEC).