March 23, 2017 / 2:50 PM / in 7 months

Tunisia expects IMF to release second loan tranche next month

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia expects that the International Monetary Fund will release the $350 million second tranche of a $2.8 billion loan after a three-month delay, a senior official said on Thursday.

International Monetary Fund logo is seen inside the headquarters at the end of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The IMF postponed payment from December because of lack of progress on reforms, including cuts to the public sector wage bill.

“A delegation from the IMF will be in Tunisia early next month to discuss Tunisia’s pledges in reforms and we expect that $350 million will be paid for the second installment,” said Ridha Saidi, an economic advisor to the prime minister.

He added that Tunisia will start reducing the number of public sector employees immediately and that the IMF is satisfied with that plan.

Tunisia is likely to sell some stakes in three state-owned banks and cut up to 10,000 public sector jobs as part of the reforms, Finance Minister Lamia Zribi told Reuters last month.

The release of the second installment of the loan will help Tunisia access further credit from international lenders including the World Bank, the European Union and the African Development Bank.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Catherine Evans

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