Deficit of national social security funds expected to reach 2 billion dinars (Hassine Dimassi)
29/10/2019 14:50, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) – The deficit of national social security funds is expected to reach 2 billion dinars, former Finance Minister and Expert Hassine Dimassi estimated during the 3rd Seminar of Insurance Agents, organised on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA).

“These 2 billions represent the equivalent of the turnover of private insurance companies, which is huge,” he estimated, adding that the even more dramatic situation of social funds has led today to a drop in national savings.

"Until the end of 1990, about half of the mobilised investments (dams, roads, schools, etc), had been carried out on the basis of the savings of public companies, notably the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and the National Fund for Retirement and Social Welfare (CNRPS)," he explained.

“We are currently witnessing a sharp and alarming fall in the rate of national savings. In figures, they edged down from 22% in 2010 to 8.9% now,” he indicated.

“Before the Revolution, Tunisia used to save 1/5 of the country’s riches,” he specified, describing this rate as “very satisfactory.” Today, we are not even able to save 1/10 of the national riches,” he added in a statement to TAP.

“Today we don’t have enough national savings to fund our projects, hence resort to indebtedness,” Dimassi regretted.

This issue should be the absolute priority of the next government, he said, calling private insurance companies to mobilise savings so as to contain the debts and save the national economy.

According to him, the situation of private insurance companies still falls short of expectations, compared with similar international structures, recalling in this regard, that the turnover of national insurance companies represent 0.12% of that generated by the French private insurance companies.

Globally, the sector’s turnover is worth $5.5 billion, while that achieved by Tunisian private companies stands at $0.7 billion, he added.

In this regard, the expert called on these establishments to focus on other insurance products, whose presence is extremely poor in Tunisia such as life insurance.

For his part Economist and Financier Ezzedine Saidane, the insurance sector, with an important role in the Tunisian economy, remains very limited, notably the share of insurance bonuses in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national savings.

“The savings are still the fundamental basis of basic investment funding and creation of economic growth,” he affirmed, adding that the average duration of savings has widely dropped since the Revolution.

“We currently have short-term savings that can in no way be used in the investment which generally requires medium- or long-term savings,” he explained.

Saidane indicated that the life insurance is “an extremely important resource for securing the economic development process,” calling for deep rooting the culture of insurance and go beyond the mandatory insurances.

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