Tunisia’s Debt-Laden Public Firms Edge Toward Ruin

Tunisia’s state-owned firms are in dire straits, facing a perfect storm of debt, mismanagement, the coronavirus pandemic and a decade of political instability that could push some to bankruptcy, Agence France Presser's reported. Ten years since a revolution that overthrew the nepotistic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the sweeping reforms economists say are needed to clean up state finances have yet to materialise. The situation has pushed many of the cash-strapped North African country’s 110 state-owned firms towards the edge. “Today we’re talking not about reforms but about rescue packages,” Transport Minister Moez Chakchouk told journalists last week. Economist Hakim Ben Hammouda has urged the government to “declare an economic state of emergency”. Among the public firms edging towards life support are national carrier Tunisair and a phosphate giant that is one of Tunisia’s top employers. Read more.