Tunis (AFP) - Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh warned Thursday that his country's economy, hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic, would contract by around six percent this year, as public companies flounder.
"All state enterprises are in bankruptcy," he declared in a speech to parliament. "The next battle is to save the state."
Gross Domestic Product was on course to contract by six percent this year, he announced, noting also that in recent discussions with the IMF and World Bank, these institutions have begun working on the basis of a 6.8 percent contraction this year.
These figures mark a deeper recession this year than the last official forecast of -4.3 percent made by the IMF
Fakhfakh said that key sectors, notably tourism and textiles, would be hit hard, resulting in around 130,000 jobs being lost, while public debt would hit the "terrifying level" of 92 billion dinars ($33.5 billion, around 30 billion euros).
He said GDP this year would fare worse "even than during the 2011 revolution" that toppled dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, when the economy contracted by 1.9 percent year-on-year, according to World Bank data.