In Tunisia, the 2022 finance law provides for significant tax revenues, which would be due to the fight against smuggling. Illusory forecasts?
"Robocop" had promised to become "Mr. Clean". But five months after having granted himself full powers, the Tunisian President, Kaïs Saïed, is still far from having kept his commitments. Three days after July 25, Kaïs Saïed announced a presidential decree which was to draw the outlines of a “penal reconciliation” with the businessmen who have “plundered” national wealth in recent years.
Kaïs Saïed then evoked a list of 460 businessmen who stole nearly 13,5 billion dinars - or around 4 billion euros. Thefts which would in reality be embezzlement of funds from infrastructure projects. In recent months, the Tunisian presidency has tried to ban businessmen from travel, but also political leaders, nothing helps: few officials involved in corruption scandals have been arrested.
As for the informal sector, it is still well established despite Kaïs Saïed's proposal for “penal reconciliation”. However, on December 28, during the presentation of the 2022 finance law, several ministers explained, half-heartedly, that the money from smuggling and fraud was going to be reinjected into the formal economy.
The tax revenues provided for in the framework of the law are in fact greatly revised upwards. Indeed, the government, in the 2022 finance law, provides for an increase of 14% of tax revenue, which should reach, according to official estimates, 11 billion euros.
Except that this figure seems totally surreal. And it is not the proposal of Kaïs Saïed made to the smugglers that will change the situation. Indeed, the president left until June 2022 to the actors of the informal sector to return in the legality, in exchange for a tax of 10% on their declared incomes. This economic reconciliation seems today to be an unattainable dream.
Another source of income on which the government relies: VAT for offshore companies. The government wants to make exporting companies pay value added tax on intermediate materials, before this VAT is refunded to them. In reality, the state would count on companies that would not ask for reimbursement, for fear of being targeted by checks by the state.
Finally, other measures are also planned, such as the increase in customs duties on foreign products already manufactured in Tunisia or the tax on cash receipts in supermarkets, as is already practiced in several sub-Saharan countries.
In any case, the increase in tax revenues may well be illusory. Response at the end of 2022. With, perhaps, the end of the state of grace for Kaïs Saïed who knows that he has interesting wealth in Tunisia, but who will have to show political courage to inflate, and not artificially. , State funds.