Tunisia: Utica Calls for Devising Urgent Programme to Rescue Economy

Tunis/Tunisia — The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) called for devising an urgent programme to rescue the economy based on a set of major measures.

The UTICA considers in a statement issued on Monday, that the 2023 Finance Law (FL), which lacks an economic vision, will have a negative impact on the business and investment climate in Tunisia.

The confederation expressed in this regard, “disappointment” with the 2023 FL as it is expected to worsen the crisis in Tunisia, adding that “it is a tax and public accounting law that includes several unfair measures for the companies.”

The 2023 FL should be a business plan for economic recovery and a tool to restore confidence by announcing revolutionary investment incentives to create wealth and jobs, achieve growth and support investment and exports, the same source said.

The UTICA further expressed its rejection of the withdrawal of the principle of unification of tax on tax under the 2023 finance law and the adoption of a new tax on real estate wealth, which represents a guarantee provided by companies to banks for the financing of investments.

Other experiences have shown that this measure has caused capital flight and the transfer of investments to competing countries, the statement specified, adding that this measure will have an impact on the construction sector as a large number of Tunisians abroad invest in real estate in foreign currency.

Besides, the confederation called on the State to stop borrowing from commercial banks and to settle its debts with economic operators “without further delay.”

The UTICA expressed surprise at the increase in fines for late payment in the 2023 finance law, adding that the State should first apply these sanctions to its debts to economic operators.

The employers’ organisation considers that “solving the problems facing Tunisia does not lie in exhausting private companies and their liquidity without providing incentives for investment, export and wealth creation.”

It recommended revising the foreign exchange code, which only isolates Tunisians, hinders the creativity of young people, the development of foreign direct investment and tourism, and impedes the globalisation of the economy and of Tunisian companies,” with a view to issuing a new code allowing the opening of foreign currency accounts.

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