Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

(TAP) – The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) is currently studying some reforms of the exchange rate regulation which is a determining factor in promoting foreign direct investment in Tunisia or increasing Tunisian investments abroad, said director of capital operations at the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) Raoudha Boukadida.

These measures are designed to support the exchange rate constraint on current transfers and foreign financial transactions, said the official who spoke at a conference held on the sidelines of the first forum Financing Investment and Trade in Africa “FITA 2018” (February 6-7).

The balance sheet of the transfer of funds as investment on the African continent in the period 1994-2017 in various fields of activities (industrial, commercial, service and others) represents 60% of the general total of the transfers made, as such, i.e. an overall value of 460 million dinars (MD) abroad. This rate will drop to 15%, excluding Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) countries and Egypt.

“77% of these flows were transferred in the last two years of 2016 and 2017, mainly to Côte d’Ivoire, which was the preferred destination of our Tunisian economic operators,” she said.

These easing measures provide for further relaxation of exchange rate regulation in Tunisia and the introduction of new criteria.

The intention is to allow exporting and non-exporting resident enterprises to freely make transfers as investment abroad, within limits and ceilings determined according to a proportion of their own funds, instead of turnover at export or local turnover.

The point is also to liberalise all commitments by signature (for example, granting a guarantee by Tunisian banks), and to examine the possibility of raising the bar of the funds transferred by exporting companies.

At present, the right to transfer abroad for exporting companies amounts to 1 MD per currency purchase and USD 3 million for foreign currency business account availabilities.

The new approach in terms of investment abroad requires that the company wishing to set up abroad is already operational on the Tunisian site and ensures the criteria of transparency with regard to the tax administration.

The current regulations allow the transfer of funds abroad for any resident enterprise exporting or non-exporting, provided that these establishments contribute to the promotion of exports from Tunisia and ensures a knock-on effect on the Tunisian economy as well as an entry in foreign currency.

In addition, it is necessary that the activity of the company on the local market is compatible with that abroad.

The director at the BCT stressed that this institution is willing to study any proposal from all economic operators, especially those present in the context of the conference work, noting that the current economic situation has not prevented the BCT to authorise transfers of investment securities abroad for large amounts and relatively complex and unconventional arrangements.

He added that the BCT remains increasingly vigilant as to the return of investment in the objective of recovery of the Tunisian economy, calling on Tunisian investors abroad to provide the necessary information on their activities so that the bank takes the necessary flexibility relating to exchange regulations.

According to the official, the BCT only ensures the proper exchange rate regulation and changes in foreign exchange regulations remain the business of the government.