Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

The 2.5% growth rate achieved by Tunisia in the first quarter of 2018 has not been achieved since the second quarter of 2014, said Development, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Zied Laadhari.

During a press conference held on Tuesday at the Kasbah government palace, Laadhari estimated that since 2011, this rate has undergone a change in its composition, as it has not been based on non-market services, which (services) rose by 4% over the 2011/2017 period.

He added that the GDP growth forecast could reach 3%, in case of non-consideration of non-manufacturing industries which decreased by 5.3%.

He placed emphasis on the value added of manufacturing industries which grew by 2.4%, the growth of the Agriculture and Fisheries sector (11.9%), non-market services (mainly presented by administration), which recorded a slight increase of 0.2%, in addition to the decline in non-manufacturing industries of 5.3%.

The minister explained that the growth of the manufacturing industries is due to the evolution of the agro-food industries sector of 16.7%, following the significant increase in the production of olive oil, whose exports have increased by 357 % to reach a value of 1015 million dinars (MD), while the sector of mechanical and electrical industries grew by 5.3% and the sector of Textile, Clothing and Footwear increased by 0.2%.

He underlined the continuous evolution of the mechanical and electrical industries because of a notable improvement of the exports of this sector which reached, during the first 4 months of 2018, 5931,8 MD, an increase of 23,6% ( 1131.6 MD).

This is also the growth of the textile sector, clothing and leather, for a year, following the increase in exports of nearly 24.9%, in the first 4 months of 2018, to reach 2987.4 MD.

The development minister noted a negative performance of the chemical industries, which fell by 23.9%, due to the drop in production of phosphate derivatives, as well as the 5.3% decline in the materials industries, construction, ceramics and glass following the decline in local demand, especially cement whose sales fell by 6%.

On non-manufacturing results in the first quarter of 2018, he cited the continued decline in the oil and gas extraction sector by 2.4% compared to the first quarter of 2017, following daily decrease in crude oil production to 40 thousand barrels, compared to 45 thousand barrels recorded during the same period of 2017 and more than 70 thousand barrels in 2010.

It also noted the change in production in the mining sector, which declined by 37% in the first quarter of 2018, compared with a positive performance of 21.3% in the first quarter of 2017.