Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Tunisia tax suspension, teacher strike test reform agenda

03 March 2015, 07:57

Tunis - Tunisia cancelled a new tax on Monday imposed on travellers crossing Libya's border after the measure triggered rioting, highlighting the problems facing the government as it seeks to bolster shaky state accounts.

The main teachers union also launched a week-long strike on Monday to demand pay hikes in another challenge to the recently installed government, which is trying to curb state spending and reduce fiscal deficit as required by international lenders.

Tunisia has been praised as an example of compromise politics and democratic transition since overthrowing autocrat leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in a 2011 uprising, holding free elections and drafting a new constitution.

But it faces pressure from its creditors to cut high public spending, including by reforming politically sensitive subsidies on basic foods and fuel.

Also read: Tunisia names old regime veteran to form new govt

Authorities tried to raise money by imposing a $20 tax on foreigners crossing the Libyan border, angering residents of the frontier towns Dhiba and Ben Guerdan, who said it had hurt trade with Libya, which had responded by taxing Tunisian visitors.

Last month, a man was shot dead in clashes between demonstrators and security forces during a protest in Dhiba against the tax.

High unemployment

Prime Minister Habib Essid visited the two southern towns on Sunday and subsequently decided to scrap the levy. "The ministerial council has agreed to stop an imposed tax on travelers," said a statement from his office.

Essid's hoped-for economic reforms, including boosting development and jobs, will not be easy in a country which is reliant on tourism, has few natural resources, suffers from high unemployment and offers generous state subsidies.

Adding to the government's problems, tens of thousands of teachers went on strike on Monday and boycotted student exams to push for higher wages. The education ministry has rejected the demand, saying the budget did not allow for a pay hike.

Analysts said if the government agreed to raise teachers' pay, it may be forced to make more concessions in other sectors.

Public wages account for about a third of the state budget and Tunisia's powerful UGTT labor union started negotiations with the government last week to increase salaries for some 800 000 public sector workers.

A deal is expected by the end of March.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...