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Tunisia aims to half poverty rates in a decade

Tunisian Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia plans to cut half poverty rates in the country by 2030, the Minister of Social Affairs said in an interview this weekend.

Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Mohamed Trabelsi said that even when the country has witnessed social instability, poverty levels has declined. Today, he added, they stand at approximately 15 per cent of the population, with three per cent living in extreme poverty.

"In Tunisia, there are 285,000 poor families who receive direct intervention from the state, which increased in September 2018 from $50 a month to $60, plus free treatment and other increases."

Trabelsi said that 620,000 families with limited income in Tunisia "have insufficient income to meet the needs of the family."

Last month, the People's Assembly voted on the Social Security Law which Trabelsi described as "more comprehensive and multidimensional, considering that poverty is not only monetary poverty but also carries dimensions related to work, education and health."

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The Tunisian minister believes that the new law makes taking poverty a national responsibility, not only a ministerial or governmental one. "Everyone is concerned. Every poor person deprived of this aid has the right to bring a case before the courts to restore his rights."

Earlier this month, the Tunisian government signed an agreement with the Labour Union to increase public servants' wages, with the latter terminating strikes and protests organised following the deal.

"We have signed an agreement with the union to review wages for [680,000] employees," he said. "Everything is expensive, the cost of calm and national coordination in this transition is invaluable."

"We hope that the 2018 and early 2019 agreements will benefit the local economy by increasing growth rates and their impact on other sectors," he said, especially has calm will encourage investment.

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