New Tunisian Central Bank Chief Promises “Extraordinary Measures”

Enterprise Television- New Tunisian Central Bank Chief Promises “Extraordinary Measures”

Former World Bank official and economics professor Marouane el Abassi was confirmed by Tunisia’s parliament as the new central bank governor on Thursday, promising “extraordinary measures” to lift the country’s economy.

Abassi takes over at a time when Tunisia faces deep economic challenges including rising deficits and inflation, a fall in the value of the Tunisian dinar and persistently high unemployment.

Out of 157 members of parliament present, 134 voted to approve Abassi. He replaces Chedli Ayari who had led the central bank since 2012 and resigned on Wednesday, reluctantly acceding to a request from Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

Since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, successive governments have struggled to create jobs and implement reforms.

Labour unrest and attacks by Islamist militants have hurt foreign investment, industrial production and the key tourism industry.

Annual inflation rose to 6.9 percent in January, the highest rate in 20 years. Foreign currency reserves have dropped to their lowest level in 15 years and the trade deficit widened in December to a record $6.25 billion. In 2017, the dinar lost nearly 21 percent of its value against the euro.

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