The Tunisian banking sector intends to carry out 50 new projects in various sectors in order to develop banking work and facilitate banking and financial services in the country, including those related to media and communication and to facilitate the dissemination of information. information to citizens, as well as projects relating to social work, the green economy and the environment, according to the president of the Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, Mohamed Agrebi.
In a statement to “AfricanManager.Ar“, on the sidelines of the presentation of the first sector study for banks and financial institutions in Tunisia, he specified that these projects will be implemented gradually and in stages.
Contribution of banks to the financing of the State budget
Talking about the possibility that the banks will participate again in the financing of the State budget, he affirmed that it is for them a national duty to intervene to meet the financial needs of the country whenever they are called upon in particular in this economic situation.
“Banks have, over the past decade, responded to the country’s financial needs, and such support for budget financing since 2011 has exceeded 150%,” he said.
“We have participated on many occasions in the financing of the State budget without fear, but the banks have balances and their financial operations must not be limited only to loans to have to include other financial and banking operations in order to avoid risks,” he said.
In the same context, Agrebi assured that the banks had expressed their initial agreement to contribute to the financing of the State budget for the year 2022.
He explained that the banks, during their meeting last month with the Minister of Finance, had expressed their willingness to contribute to the search for financing solutions, reaffirming that “financing the State in the current circumstances is a national duty”. .
Regarding what is circulating in relation to the banks’ fears of not collecting their arrears, he revealed that on March 24, the State repaid part of a loan it had obtained in foreign currency, which confirms that the he State is always ready to honor its commitments vis-à-vis banking and financial institutions, according to him.
No risk of bankruptcy
The president of the Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions stressed that despite the difficult economic situation and the high level of public debt, the country is not going bankrupt, assuring that the situation should gradually improve.
Regarding the downgrading of Tunisia’s sovereign rating by Fitch Ratings on March 18, 2022, to CCC and the extent of its impact on the banking sector, he indicated that this rating induces limited internal risks, but is synonymous of “external obstacles”.
Agrebi pointed out that these pitfalls are related to monetary transactions in the form of the customer’s demand for external financial credits, since most foreign banks have refused to extend credit to customers abroad, in addition to the rates of high interest, stressing that banking establishments in Tunisia are working to overcome this problem.
It should be noted that, on March 18, the international credit rating agency “Fitch Ratings” lowered Tunisia’s sovereign rating to CCC with negative outlook, after its rating last July of Tunisia to B- with negative outlook also due to the impossibility of reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
Tunisia’s downgrade to CCC means that its bond issues carry significant credit risk and default becomes a real possibility.
The agency explained in a press release that “the downgrading of Tunisia’s rating reflects the increased risk of external financial liquidity in light of the delay in concluding a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund”.