Tunisia: Call for the immediate suspension of debt repayment

20 November 2011 by Raid Attac/Cadtm Tunisie

Tunisia urgently needs to marshal all of its financial resources to meet immediate needs, including extreme poverty, benefits for the unemployed, improving workers’ material conditions, etc.

Meanwhile, we’re getting reports of foreign initiatives to develop an emergency “aid” package for Tunisia, including 17 million euros from the European Commission and 350,000 euros from the French state. The European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank are also preparing to lend Tunisia millions of euros.

We don’t need to add to our debt, because Tunisia already has sufficient financial resources to address the current social emergency, as proven by a statement on the part of Mustapha Nabli. The former senior executive of the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, ex-finance minister under Ben Ali and, since January 15, 2011, governor of Tunisia’s Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

ECB : http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
, has announced he intends to allocate 577 million euros from the country’s budget to service the 2011 external public debt!

We demand that the Ghannouchi government suspend this debt payment considering the exceptional situation in which our country finds itself and the enormous social needs. This demand is based on the legal argument related to the state of necessity, which allows states in financial difficulty to suspend debt payments unilaterally and give priority to the needs of the population. It is all the more necessary to suspend debt payments given that a significant portion of Tunisia’s external public debt is actually dictator Ben Ali’s private debt, a debt that did not benefit the Tunisian people. During the suspension of payments, an audit of Tunisia’s entire public debt (domestic and external) should be undertaken to determine what portion was illegitimate.

Raid Attac/Cadtm Tunisie is calling on all of the Committees for the Protection of the Revolution, as well as the political, social, labor and youth movements, to unite for the immediate suspension of debt repayment. This is all the more urgent because the Ghannouchi government plans to hand over a large portion of this payment – 410 million euros – by April 2011.

Raid Attac/Cadtm Tunisie proposes to form a collective that will decide on the collective actions to be taken to achieve this goal.

 Suspending the payment of 577 million euros is preferable to entering into new loan agreements that will deepen Tunisia’s debt !

 Suspending the payment of 577 million euros will not hurt Tunisia’s creditors; however, making the payment will worsen the already dire situation of the Tunisian people !

Tunis, February 22, 2011
Raid Attac/Cadtm Tunisie
Fathi Chamkhi
Phone +216.98.522.378 / +216.23.787.380
Email : fatcham at yahoo.fr

Translation: Karen Wirsig
Correction: Elizabeth Bell




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