Tunisia's president appoints tax chief as interim finance minister

Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia has experience of dealing with the IMF and other international bodies

Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia during signing in ceremony with President Saied, alongside Nizar Bennaji.

Tunisia's President Kais Saied appointed Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia as interim finance minister on Monday, 10 days after he dismissed the government and froze parliament.

Ms Boughdiri Nemsia, an economist and tax specialist who spent her 28-year career at the ministry, replaces Ali Kooli, who was sacked earlier this week.

She will step into the role at a time of great economic uncertainty, as Tunisia faces rising inflation, a devalued currency and record unemployment.

Her predecessor, Mr Kooli, spent weeks in Washington this spring trying to secure a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the fourth since the 2011 revolution, and the terms have yet to be settled.

Ms Boughdiri Nemsia has experience in dealing with the IMF and other international bodies.

Since 2016 she has served as the director general of tax studies and legislation, the body that develops tax policy for the country, focusing on both domestic and international tax policy. She has negotiated tax treaties with foreign nations and worked on teams that have developed policy in tandem with the IMF.

Tunisia has long been plagued by tax evasion, and cracking down on it was part of Mr Kooli's IMF plan.

Ms Boughdiri Nemsia will serve as interim finance minister, as only the prime minister can appoint Cabinet chiefs and Mr Saied has yet to install a new head of government.

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 12:37 PM