Tunisian President Kais Saied fires energy minister after petrol-price comment

Neila Nouira Gonji was a central player in trying to broker a bail-out deal with the IMF

Tunisia's energy minister, Neila Nouira Gonji, right, was fired after suggesting fuel-price increases may be imminent. AFP
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Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed his energy minister, Neila Nouira Gonji, on Thursday night, a few hours after she said that another increase in petrol prices might be imminent.

Earlier on Thursday, the minister told journalists that the government is approaching the final stages of setting up the country’s new subsidy system and that dates of possible petrol price adjustments will be decided.

“The government is focused on studying the different potential hypotheses of [an alternative] subsidy system and we are in the final stages of setting it up,” Ms Gonji said.

“We will finish our work in the next few days, and then the dates of the increases that may be approved for petrol prices will be clarified,” she added.

Ms Gonji has been part of Prime Minister Najla Bouden's government since October 2021.

She has played an important role in creating the country's reform programme necessary for Tunisia to meet the IMF’s conditions for a bail-out package.

Mr Saied has, however, repeatedly rejected those reforms that he perceives as "dictations from foreign institutions".

In February he dismissed his foreign minister, a week after he sacked the ministers of agriculture and education.

Updated: May 05, 2023, 9:10 AM