Tunisia ROSC

Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes

Tunisia and the IMF

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Prepared by staff team from MED on the basis of information provided by the Tunisian authorities

January 29, 2001

I.  Introduction

1.  The first ROSC was issued in September 1999.1 During the 2000 Article IV consultation, IMF staff reviewed developments in the areas pertaining to Tunisia's observance of the standards assessed in 1999, with a view to updating where relevant, changes in current practices or describing the implementation of earlier recommendations.2 Unless indicated below, the recommendations made in the 1999 ROSC remain relevant. Tunisia will be undertaking an FSAP/FSSA in the first half of 2001, during which time the standards and codes pertaining to financial market stability, including some not covered in the 1999 ROSC or this update, will be assessed again in detail.

II.  Data Dissemination

2.  The authorities made substantial progress in 1999 and 2000 in their efforts to subscribe to the SDDS. While Tunisia committed to subscribing to the SDDS by end-2000, formal subscription is expected to take place by mid-2001 to allow time for improvements in the areas of quarterly national accounts and labor market statistics, and to meet SDDS dissemination and timeliness requirements in a number of other areas. In addition, advance release calendars in all the necessary categories will be prepared and disseminated - the authorities plan to do so by February 2001. Two STA missions in October 2000, assisted the authorities with issues related to SDDS subscription, and the authorities have requested the continued assistance of STA until formal subscription.

3.  Work is underway in the following areas in order to bring standards up to the SDDS requirements:

  • Data on wages/earnings are being developed and are scheduled to be distributed by February 2001.

  • The timeliness requirement for the production index is being reduced (from eight to six weeks) to meet the SDDS standard.

  • The National Institute of Statistics is in the process of finalizing the quarterly national accounts data. A technical assistance mission on the subject, which took place in October 2000, reviewed the methodology and concluded that, although further work is required, Tunisia should be able to meet SDDS standards by April 2001.

  • Data for general/central government operations, debt and interest rates are currently available but are not yet disseminated--they are scheduled to be disseminated in February 2001.

  • Balance of payments data are compiled on a monthly cumulative basis instead of the quarterly basis prescribed in the SDDS--the authorities were planning to rectify this by early 2001.

  • Data required for the SDDS reserves template on international reserves, foreign currency liquidity and forward exchange rates are currently available, although their dissemination is scheduled to begin only in February 2001. The timeliness requirement for gross international reserves (one week instead of Tunisia's six weeks) has not yet been met, although the authorities also plan to correct this by the time of subscription.

  • Data on the analytical accounts of the central bank currently do not meet the timeliness requirement (three months instead of two weeks). This will also be corrected by next spring.

III.  Fiscal Transparency

4.  A principal change in fiscal transparency relates to the adoption of a new fiscal code (code des procédures fiscales), which will become effective in 2002. This code, which is a formal codification of existing laws, as well as some new laws, enshrines the statutory rights and obligations of the government and taxpayers on matters relating to revenue collection and tax payments. It places tax litigation under the general legal code (droit commun) and requires all dealings with the tax administration to be in written form. It reinforces the state's ability to collect by strengthening the ability of the tax administration to collect information, including by requiring banks to provide a list of all account holders; granting "executory" power to the tax administration; making all infractions under the code a criminal offense; and adding new criminal sanctions on value-added tax-related infractions.

5.  With subscription to the SDDS in mid-2001, a statement of fiscal reporting practices will be published and an advance release date calendar announced. In addition, available data on general and central government operations and debt and government interest rates will also have to be disseminated (now scheduled for February 2001).

6.  In most other areas, the recommendations made in the 1999 ROSC remain relevant, particularly regarding information on nonfinancial public enterprises and on general government (local and state governments).

IV.  Transparency of Monetary Policy

7.  The following changes have been made since the 1999 ROSC assessment was made:

  • The establishment of an automated interbank payment system was finalized in 2000.

  • Beginning with the 2000 monetary program, the central bank of Tunisia (BCT) now publishes its annual monetary policy objectives on its website. Starting in 2001, the monetary program objectives will also be published as part of the budget document (budget économique).

  • The BCT also publishes on its website an advance release calendar of economic data, including monetary data.

V.  Banking Supervision

8.  The following changes have taken place since the 1999 ROSC was issued:

  • The required minimum risk-weighted capital/asset ratio was raised to 8 percent tier one and tier two capital, consistent with the Basle Committee capital adequacy recommendations. Only one small bank did not meet this minimum ratio at the end of 2000.

1See Experimental Report on Implementation of Standards and Codes - Tunisia, EBS/99/158, Supplement 6 (September 1, 1999).
2This Update was prepared by Edward Gardner, Nicole Laframboise, and Edouard Martin.

Tunisia ROSC