File - Tunisia's Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa gestures as he speaks during a news conference announcing his decision not to run for the upcoming presidential election in Tunis September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Anis Mili
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Tunisia's economy needs at least three more years of painful and politically difficult reforms, including tax changes and subsidy cuts, to revive growth after the damage it suffered during the 2011 revolution, Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said.Tunisia signed last year to obtain a two-year, $1.78 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund on the understanding that it would pursue economic reforms.Jomaa, who was appointed as part of a deal to end a crisis between Tunisia's Ennahda Islamist Party and its secular opposition, has said he will not serve as prime minister in the next government, and many of his ministers are also likely to go.Jomaa said enough of a consensus had developed around economic reforms that they would probably continue regardless of the makeup of the next government.Jomaa predicted improvement in some key economic indicators next year, saying Tunisia could cut the state budget deficit to 5.0 percent of GDP in 2015 from an estimated 5.8 percent this year, and inflation to 5 percent from about 6 percent.Jomaa said Tunisia could not now afford to let political issues deter it from raising money in this way.
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