Tunisia has increased prices of petroleum product by four per cent in an effort to raise more funds to finance budget deficit.
The country has hiked prices four times since 2018.
The Ministry of Industry said that gasoline was increased 0.080 Tunisian dinars to 2.065 dinars, sulfur-free diesel 0.080 Tunisian dinars to become 1.825 dinars and diesel became 1.570 dinars after a 0.090 dinar hike.
The ministry explained that the hike was introduced in the light of the rise in global prices after the price of crude oil reached $68 a barrel.
The ministry asserted that the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in households has not been adjusted.
The country plan to introduce reforms requested by the country’s international lenders, the government said in the first hike this year.
Through these repeated increases, Tunisia is responding to one of the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a number of international financing and lending institutions that have demanded a three-month automatic adjustment to fuel prices in an attempt to reduce the budget deficit, which is largely linked to spending on energy subsidies.
Tunisia’s financial and economic expert Ezzeddine Saidan predicted that these increases would continue as long as international oil prices are on the rise.
He pointed out that the Finance Ministry adopted in the 2018 budget reference oil prices within the range of $54, and soon oil prices exceeded the threshold of $70, which left a large financial gap, and forced the government to pass a supplementary law to overcome the scarcity of financial resources and a growing budget deficit.
The 2019 budget allocated 2.1 billion dinars for the petroleum industry, and the government said the total energy deficit amounted to one third of the trade deficit in 2018, which reached 19 billion dinars.
Tunisia’s oil production has significantly dropped in the past years, reaching an average of 42,000 barrels per day (bdp). Before 2011, oil production was in the range of 80,000 bpd, covering about 48 percent of the country’s petroleum needs.