The hour of truth has come for everyone

The hour of truth has come for everyone
Written by on100dayloans

coronavirus economy

Year 66 of Independence! A very sad birthday. Eleven years of post-revolution turmoil have got the better of our main economic gains and social advances.

In ten years, the GDP has fallen in constant dinar by more than 30%. Per capita income deteriorated further due to population growth. The share of industry and formal agriculture decreases as that of the informal economy progresses, with troubled origins and uncertain outcomes. The country is falling apart. It is no longer part of the emerging. It is adrift and barely appears on the radar screens of foreign investors.

Shortages, which have become a structural evil, set in and become entrenched in the long term. The cost of living as well as wages and social charges are exploding. The demand for productivity linked to the propensity to work is perceived as an attack on freedoms. The 2014 Constitution glorifies the right to strike and prohibits the right to work. It has the effect of a veritable weapon of mass destruction of the economy and of… employment.

For a whole decade, the logic of social transfers, sharing of added value, more virtual than real of loot, spoliation, dismemberment and predation of the country took over the imperative of production and creation of wealth. . The politics of supply has been deliberately and literally hidden, sidelined by politicians who have arrogated to themselves an annuity for life. The workers’ union was not left out. The state, which has deserted the public sphere, no longer being able to resist it.

“In ten years, the GDP has fallen in constant dinar by more than 30%. Per capita income has deteriorated further due to population growth”

By dint of relentlessly wanting to redistribute at all costs what the economy does not produce or can no longer produce, we have ended up eating our white bread with no other perspective than recourse to indebtedness, for the sole reason of satisfy our insatiable need for consumption.

Indebtedness, at exorbitant cost, has replaced the production effort. Over the years, the weight of debt servicing inhibited what remained of the meager investment opportunities. From the spiral of debt to the descent into purgatory, it did not take long for a country in need of investment and threatened with industrial desertification.

Industry at half mast, agriculture in decline, abandoned infrastructure, unsustainable debt. In a word, a bankrupt country, classified by all the rating agencies as high risk. The picture is hopeless. Tunisia no longer inspires confidence and even less respect.

The more it sinks into the crisis, the more its chances of recovery dwindle. What arouse the covetousness of vulture funds and scavengers of all kinds, draped under the tinsel of geopolitics. We waited in vain for the return of the State. The clearing of July 25 was very short-lived. Since then, the economic and social situation has worsened, without any real political thaw.

The Head of State’s missiles are doing more harm to the economy and public finances than they will have served to neutralize his fiercest political adversaries, past masters in the art of scorched earth politics.

“By dint of relentlessly wanting to redistribute at all costs what the economy does not produce or can no longer produce, we have ended up eating our white bread…”

Caught between two fires, while being widely harassed by the trade union guerrillas who do not hesitate to take the country hostage, the population is bewildered, not knowing what to do or where to go, engulfed as it is in the swamp of shortages and scorched by the raging fires of inflation.

Basic necessities – first and foremost medicines – are missing and those that are available are burning our fingers. Uncertainty weighs on salaries and retirement pensions.

Engineers, doctors, academics, experts – but not only them – no longer see their future in a country that no longer has its destiny in hand. They take the path of exodus, to the great displeasure of the national community.

We must go back to the worst moments of our distant history to find this avalanche of curses. The fathers of Independence and the pioneers of the State must turn in their graves, faced with the downfall of a country devastated by its own.

The warning signals, the warnings from here and elsewhere will have been useless, if not to signify the disdain, the inconsistency or the irresponsibility of leaders guilty of non-assistance to countries in danger.

The two recent alerts of rare gravity, those from Fitch Ratings, which makes us the black sheep of high-risk countries, and from Morgan Stanley, which evokes a probable default in payment, have not put the ruling class in emotion nor prepared the country for a real electric shock to sound the alarm clock. The time has not yet come for general mobilization, but who knows?

Appearances are often deceiving and reality is much more complex. We will find out at the end of the recent IMF mission which came to sound out the intentions of the social partners and gauge their determination for reform. So, agreement or not with the IMF to give itself a little more air? The ball is in the UGTT’s court. The hour of truth has come for everyone.

(Article published in n°841 of L’Economiste Maghrébin from March 30 to April 13, 2022)

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