Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi disclosed on Friday that the value of stalled public projects in the country had reached 17 billion Tunisian dinars (around $6 billion).
This came in a statement to reporters following the fifth meeting of the Bayt Al-Ḥikmah (House of Wisdom) meeting series that the presidency is holding in the presence of its international financial partners: the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the National Union of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Mechichi stated: "One of the most important obstacles facing public investment is the regulations and legal formalities."
He pointed out: "A plan of action will be set to enable the government to exploit two billion dinars ($714 million) from the allocations of suspended public projects in the next 12 months."
Mechichi explained that a new decree has been undergoing preparation for months to organise public contracts and will be presented at the next cabinet meeting.
"There are €2.4 billion allocated to finance transport projects, however, 50 per cent of these funds have not been disbursed," confirmed Tunisian Transport Minister Moez Chakchouk on the sidelines of the meeting.
The minister pointed out that problems have been overcome in certain projects, including the express railway network project.
"Despite all the obstacles, the project will be launched on 25 July," he added.
Meanwhile, Antoine Sallé de Chou, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Office (EBRD), explained that the meeting parties discussed ways to speed up the realisation of stalled infrastructure projects to support the economic recovery.
De Chou indicated: "There is a financial portfolio of €8.7 million provided by Tunisia's eight financial partners in the fields of infrastructure related to transportation, energy, education and sanitation, but it is still suspended."
The European official confirmed that 60 per cent of these funds, equal to five billion euros, had not been disbursed to date.