Sunday, January 26, 2020



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    Tunisia has been ranked 25th in the world in the 2019 Global Retail Development Index that studies global retailing landscape, moving down one spot compared to 2018.

    Ghana which came 4th in the world topped Africa, ahead of Senegal ranks (7th), Morocco (12th) and Tunisia (25th).

    Egypt was ranked 26th and Tanzania and Nigeria at 28th and 30th respectively.

    Tunisia’s retail sector, according to the study, is valued currently at $14 billion.

    China has assumed the 1st position; India has dropped to the 2nd position while Malaysia maintains the 3rd positions in the bi-annual study.

    The A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index ranks emerging countries based on a set of twenty-five variables including four key variables: country risk, market attractiveness, market saturation, and sales growth.

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      The Financial Market Council (CMF) has just granted its approval to Carthage Cement (a confiscated company) to increase its capital from 172 million dinars (MTND) to 395 MTND by issuing new shares, said the Tunis Stock Exchange.

      The Extraordinary General Meeting of Carthage Cement held on October 11, 2019, accepted the decision to increase the company’s capital by 223,774,733, at an issue price of TND 1.200 per share (i.e. a nominal value of TND 1 and an issue premium of TND 0.200).

      The subscription operation will start from January 17, 2020, and will continue until March 17, 2020.

      The amount of the share capital increase in cash may be limited to the amount of subscriptions provided that it reaches ¾ of the proposed increase (167 MD).

      The subscription operation is part of the financial restructuring and the regularization of the company’s shareholders’ equity, under the conditions and within the time limits provided for by law and in accordance with the provisions of Article 388 of the code of commercial companies.

      The Managing Director of El Karama Holding Adel Grar had previously indicated that, concomitantly with the capital increase operation of the company, the sale procedure of the company will be launched, after the failure of the first sale operation launched at the end of 2018 in the absence of serious offers.

      According to Brahim Sanaa’s managing director, the financial situation has improved after the structural problems that the company has been experiencing for the last five years, stating that in

      the next period the company will conclude a contract for the export of 100 thousand tons of cement to Spain.

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        Tunisia has a tax burden of more than 20% of GDP, considered the highest in the Arab region and with a score of 74.4%, well below the world average (77.2%), according to a document from the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) released on Tuesday.

        Tunisia ranks among the Arab countries where tax burden is very high just like Djibouti, Mauritania and Algeria, according to the 9th Policy Brief dedicated to tax burden in the Arab region posted on its website.

        Oil countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait have scores above world average (77.2%), i.e., less tax charges, reads the same document.

        Egypt, Jordan, Mauritius and Lebanon are in a second group, with tax burdens ranging from 14 to 18% of GDP. As for Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates, they are placed in the third group whose tax burdens are less than 9% of GDP.

        In Arab countries, particularly in Tunisia, income taxes account for 72% of tax revenues.

        Tunisia has granted tax benefits, particularly tax exemptions for foreign companies and reduced corporate income taxes from 35% to 25%, the AMF said.

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          The Company “Atelier du Meuble (SAM) “Intérieurs”, specializing in the design, manufacture and marketing of office furniture, has posted double-digit growth in 2019.

          At the end of the past year, SAM achieved a turnover of 23 million dinars, up 17.2% compared to 2018. This performance is 6% higher than the forecasts of the general management.

          The majority of revenues come from sales in the local market. They therefore amounted to 19.4 million dinars, up 11.6% compared to the previous year.

          According to the company, the level of firm orders on December 31, 2019 exceeded 1.5 million dinars.

          As for production, it increased by 22.3% last year to 24 million dinars.

          The investment made in 2019, namely 846 thousand dinars (-34%), is in line with the commitments displayed in the company’s business plan.

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            A consortium formed by the French company Engie and the Moroccan company Nareva has been declared preferred bidder for the construction of the Gafsa photovoltaic power plant, which was launched as an international tender by the Tunisian Ministry of Mines and Energy and STEG (Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz”), AfricaNews reported.

            The consortium will be responsible for developing, designing, financing, building, operating and maintaining the 120 MWp Gafsa photovoltaic power plant over a period of 20 years from commissioning.

            This major project is one of the first solar IPP “Independent Power Producer” projects in Tunisia and is part of the renewable energy sector’s development program which is aiming to achieve 30% of the country’s renewable energy production by 2030.

            The Gafsa plant is expected to supply more than 100,000 Tunisian homes per year and helps avoiding 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

            This project is the first collaboration between ENGIE and NAREVA in Tunisia, after a joint experience in Morocco with the construction of the 300 MW Tarfaya wind farm, one of the largest wind parks in Africa.

            Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa, said: “the successful outcome of this bid further cements our strategic long-term partnership with NAREVA.

            Tunisia has engaged in an ambitious plan to build new renewable power generation capacity with an objective to install 3800 MW by 2030. The current program has shown very competitive results for the country and we are proud to be part of it.”

            Saïd Elhadi, Chairman & CEO of NAREVA said: “we are delighted to develop this solar project that we have won with our partner ENGIE in Tunisia.

            NAREVA is honored to contribute to the deployment of the Tunisian Solar Plan which is a cornerstone of the country’s energy transition policy”.

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            First of all, let us specify that Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has, according to reliable sources, rejected the resignation of Taoufik Rajhi, minister in charge of monitoring major reforms and acting minister of employment and vocational training. It should be recalled that this resignation had been submitted to him on January 14, 2020.

            Rajhi’s resignation was explained by the lack of progress that the current government, known as the “caretaker government”, has made in relation to the imperatives of the continuity of the state and the need to resolve many issues in order to avoid the country coming to a halt in this phase of political and governmental transition.

            That notion of caretaker government, which does not exist at all in the Constitution, was used by the political opposition in Tunisia to challenge, for example, some appointments made by the government of Youssef Chahed.

            In fact, it is somewhat a political way, to challenge a prime minister who had not been able to pass the presidential elections, and which the opposition blames for its own failures by making the outgoing government taking responsibility for them.

            Rajhi had said, in his letter of resignation, that “the fact that the period of management of current affairs (caretaker government) has lasted longer than necessary, would not correspond to the challenges of the current period, as well as the risks of extension of this period of caretaker government.

            This would not match the imperatives of the economic situation, as well as the requirements of the social and economic and especially financial challenges of decision making and commitment”.

            Chahed, for his part, was quick to understand the message of his minister, especially since Rajhi was not the only one to have resigned.

            The wise reaction of the Prime Minister, to stop what could become a flow, was to send them, as well as to the secretaries of state, heads of local authorities and public institutions and institutions, a circular that says, without saying it, that there is no “caretaker government “, and that his government will remain at work, effective and operational, until the official appointment of his successor.

            According to the text of the circular issued by the Prime Ministry, “Chahed has called on state officials to ensure the proper functioning of public services and institutions because of the sensitivity of the stage country is going through and the challenges it faces”.

            Chahed, in this vein, stressed “the need to further strengthen the supervision and support to businesses and investors in order to avoid any expectations”.

            Then nagging them, “the Prime Minister stressed the imperative to closely monitor government decisions and public projects, planned or underway, and to strengthen communication with citizens and institutions”.

            Indeed, a way of saying, to all those who would like to put him in forced retirement, and to weaken, by this retirement, the whole administration, that “I am there. I’m staying there until the official end of my mission.”

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            Faced with many economic and social problems, the future government of Kais Saïed should try at all costs to reduce the public deficit, revitalize foreign investment, fight against unemployment … A laborious but virtually “impossible” task!

            The next government therefore plans to respond to the demands of our financial partners, following the example of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is still in the lead, while the fall of the Tunisian dinar, which has passed above the symbolic threshold of three dinars for one euro, only accentuates the difficulties even further!

            In an interview given to Africanmanager on Thursday, January 16, 2019, Houcine Dimassi, former Minister of Finance, said the delay in forming another new government weighs heavily on the current situation of the country in a Tunisia that is already experiencing a severe economic crisis, this delay only adds to the difficulties and gives a gloomy image of the country.

            Dimassi said the political imbalance and the fiasco of the consultations for the formation of the new government have generated a bad reputation of the country mainly at the international level.

            He added, in the same vein, that the change of ministers and governments will have a negative impact and will result in a decline in the pace of internal and external investments as well as the loss of several markets.

            “In fact, the political imbalance and blurred vision have caused the loss of several international trade transactions such as phosphates, we have lost external markets as customers have moved to other supplier countries, the latter no longer have confidence in Tunisian public companies,” he assured.

            In addition, he said that the national airline “Tunisair” is now facing many problems, especially in the supply of spare parts, due to the decline in confidence among foreign companies, and the increasingly difficult financial situation, according to him.

            The former Minister of Finance pointed out that the political disruption remains very harmful to the national economy, recalling, in this context, that the rate of the country’s public debt has reached nearly 90 billion dinars.

            Data from the Ministry of Finance reveal that the draft state budget for the financial year 2020 requires the mobilization of credits worth 11,248 million dinars (MD) of which 2,400 MD of domestic debt and the rest in foreign debt.

            The volume of public debt will reach 74% of GDP by the end of 2020, against 75% and 77% in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

            The State budget for the financial year 2020 is estimated at 47.227 billion dinars, i.e. an increase of 9.5% compared to the previous financial year.

            It is also recalled that with only 72 votes out of 219, the House of People’s Representatives last Friday largely rejected Habib Jemli’s government. President Kaïs Saïed has ten days to choose a new head of government.

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              A €2-million (around 6.5 million dinars) loan agreement was signed Wednesday in Tunis between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Advans Tunisie, subsidiary of leading international microfinance institution Advans group.

              “These funds will help Advans Tunisie increase its financial support to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs),” Advans Tunisie CEO Brieuc Cardon said during the signing ceremony in Tunis.

              Under this agreement, EBRD will provide technical assistance to consolidate the institutional capacity of the credit risk management and operational risk of Advans Tunisie.

              Head of EBRD’s office in Tunisia Antoine Sallé de Chou said, through this funding, the bank seeks to boost Tunisian SMEs “since the limited access to funding and cash flows hinders the development of several private companies.”

              Since the start of its operations in Tunisia in 2012, EBRD has invested €934 million across 46 projects and provided technical assistance to almost 1.000 SMEs, de Chou added.

              The official pointed out that EBRD investments in Tunisia are meant to “help Tunisia become more competitive by opening market and consolidating governance.”

              The investments are designed to “promote the economic integration of women, young people and people and strengthen the financial sector’s resilience and foster the country’s transition to a green economy,” de Chou asserted.

              ADVANS Tunisie is a member of ADVANS Group which is an international microfinance network based in nine countries in Africa and Asia. In Tunisia, it has a network of 15 agencies throughout the country.

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                A joint venture involving MSC Cruises has finalized the takeover of the operator of the cruise port for Tunis.

                The European cruise line teamed up with independent cruise ports owner Global Ports Holding last year to bid to run La Goulette.

                The deal to acquire Goulette Shipping Cruise, the company that runs the cruise terminal at the Tunisian port, has now been completed for an undisclosed sum.

                The concession to operate the cruise port was awarded to Goulette Shipping Cruise in 2006 on a 30-year basis, with a right to extend the term for an additional 20 years.

                Cruise ship calls into the port declined for four years after the terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum in the Tunisian capital in 2015, which killed 22 tourists.

                Regular stops in the port resumed in November with at least ten ships expected this year and more forecast in 2021.

                Global Ports Holding said La Goulette handled around 900,000 passengers in 2010 and an average of 441,000 a year between 2011 and 2014.

                However, the company admitted that “passenger volumes have been low in recent years”.

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                  The average annual inflation rate slowed to 6.7% in 2019 from an average of 7.3% a year earlier, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

                  In December 2019, inflation was slightly down on November, dropping from 6.3% to 6.1% after reaching 6.5% in October.

                  Indeed, despite an up and down evolution, inflation was on a resolute downward trend, falling from 7.5% in December 2018 to 6.1% in December 2019.

                  Food products

                  Food prices increased by 5.8% year-on-year in December 2019 (6.3% in November 2019).

                  This increase is explained by the rise in fruit prices by +9.7%, meat prices by +9.1% and cheese and egg prices by +7.3 coupled with a drop in edible oil prices by 6.9% compared to December 2018.

                  Manufactured goods and services

                  Over one year, prices of manufactured goods rose by 7.7% due to the increase in prices of household cleaning products by 10.2% and building materials prices by 7.9%.

                  For services, prices went up 4.6% year-on-year due to the rise in prices of health services by 9.1% and rents by 5.3% against a stable price level for public services.

                  Core and administered product inflation

                  Core inflation (excluding food and energy) was 6.6%, compared with 6.7% in November, 6.8% in October and 6.9% in September 2019.

                  Prices of free (non-administered) products went up 6.4% compared to 5.2% for administered prices.

                  Free food products increased by +6.5% against +2.3% for administered food products.

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