Tunisia’s parliament passes Islamic bond law

By bne IntelliNews July 18, 2013

The National Constituent Assembly approved a draft law allowing Islamic bond (sukuk) issuances, paving the way for the government to sell Tunisia’s first ever USD 700mn sovereign Islamic bond by end-2013, state news agency TAP reported. Some 102 deputies voted ‘yes’ for the law and just three voted ‘no’ in the Islamists-dominated assembly.

Tunisia’s ruling Islamic Ennahda is advocating Islamic finance as a key tool to raise much needed funds.

Tunisia’s government needs TND 5bn (USD 3.1bn) worth of external financing (both loans and aid) in 2013, according to central bank governor Chedly Ayari. Some TND 2bn will originate from the international debt market, including a TND 1bn Islamic bond, he said.

The IMF already approved a USD 1.74bn two-year Stand-by Agreement for Tunisia. In case the political situation stabilises further in H2 and the peak summer season yields good tourism income and arrivals, Tunisia’s GDP growth and current account balance will likely improve.

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