Tunisia’s Kais Saied calls on banks to reduce interest rates

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Tunisia’s president on Saturday called on banks to reduce interest rates, saying the measure was needed because social and economic conditions in the country were very bad.

President Kais Saied on Sunday invoked emergency powers to seize control of government, remove the prime minister and freeze parliament in a move his foes have called a coup.

On Saturday, he said corrupt people had left the country on the verge of bankruptcy, adding in a meeting with the Banks Association, “I urge you to stand with the Tunisian people by lowering interest rates as much as possible.”

“We are able to face all challenges, with our capabilities, with help of our friends, but let us rely above all on ourselves, and we can achieve results that many people do not imagine,” Saied added.

Tunisia, which has seen its debt burden rise and economy shrink by 8.8 percent last year in real terms, has started talks with the International Monetary Fund to seek a financial assistance package.

In another development, Tunisian security forces placed a judge, accused by human rights groups of being close to extremists and hiding terrorism-related files, under house arrest for 40 days, local Radio Mosaique FM said on Saturday.

The decision against Judge Bechir Akremi came after President Kais Saied pledged to lead a campaign against rampant corruption in all sectors to save the country, following his dismissal of the prime minister and freezing of parliament.

Reuters

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