Tunisia raises fuel prices in push to reduce deficit

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An employee counts money as he fills up a taxi's tank with fuel at a gas station in Tunis. Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi
An employee counts money as he fills up a taxi’s tank with fuel at a gas station in Tunis. Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi

Tunisia announced on Sunday the second increase in fuel prices in six months, raising the price of petrol by 2.85% as the government tries to rein in the budget deficit.

The price of a litre of gasoline will rise from 1.75 dinars to 1.8 dinars from Monday, the ministry of energy, mines and renewable energy said in a statement.

The price of diesel will also increase by 0.05 dinars, to 1.56 dinars a litre for low sulfur diesel and 1.28 for regular diesel, the ministry said. The price of a canister of domestic cooking and heating gas will rise from 7.4 to 7.7 dinars, the first rise in price for seven years.

In July the government raised the price of fuel from 1.65 dinars to 1.75 dinars, an increase of 6.7%.

Praised for its democratic transition after a 2011 uprising, Tunisia has struggled to push through economic reforms agreed with international lenders to lower public spending.

It has forecast that the budget deficit will fall to 4.9% of gross domestic product in 2018, from about 6% expected in 2017.

A 36 billion dinar ($14.55 billion) budget for 2018 approved earlier this month includes a package of fiscal measures to cut the deficit that had been watered down under pressure from unions.

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