Tunisia ground to a halt on 16 June after the country’s UGTT labor union staged a nationwide strike against planned economic reforms including cuts to the public-sector wage bill and the phasing out of energy and food subsidies. These measures are central to a $4bn economic package from the IMF which Tunis needs to stay afloat.

Tunisia’s central bank says the country’s fiscal deficit will reach nearly 10% of GDP this year. Public debt was up 11% at TD106.3 ($34.5bn) for the year up to February. Soaring global food and fuel prices will have since stretched state finances further (MEES, 22 February). (CONTINUED - 186 WORDS)