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Tunisian president cuts own pay by two-thirds

Moncef Marzouki says the state has to be a model to deal with the country's deteriorating financial situation.

Last updated: 18 Apr 2014 14:12
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Media outlets have criticised the president for perceived excess at a time when poverty is prevalent in the country [AP]

Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki has said that he will take a two-thirds pay cut as the government grapples with a financial situation it has described as "critical."

In a statement on Friday, Marzouki said he would cut his wages because Tunisia was facing "a financial and economic crisis".

The Tunisian economy has suffered from the instability that followed the 2011 revolution, which toppled long-time autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited the Arab Spring.

Presidential spokesman Adnane Mansar had said that Marzouki earned a gross monthly wage of 30,000 Tunisian dinars (around $19,000), according to the AFP news agency.

Marzouki, who has been head of state since late 2011, also said he had ordered further reductions in the expenses of the presidency.

Some Tunisian media outlets have criticised the perceived excesses of the presidency, with much of the country still threatened by social conflict fuelled by poverty and high unemployment.

On Friday, the World Bank approved a $100 million loan to help small and medium sized businesses, seen as crucial to the economic recovery of Tunisia's private sector.

It said there are 624,000 such businesses in Tunisia, employing around 1.2 million people, who make up an estimated 44 percent of the workforce in the formal private sector.

The government said last week that the country's public finances were in such a critical state that it had resorted to "exceptional measures" to ensure that April wages were paid.

In January, the International Monetary Fund released more than $500 million, part of a $1.76 billion loan to support Tunisia, shortly after a new technocratic government was sworn in under a deal to end months of political instability.

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Source:
AFP
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