Tunisia’s Saied accuses ‘known parties’ of provoking another bread shortage

The country has been struggling with insufficient cereal-based products for months

Freshly baked bread at a Tunis bakery that was not subsidised by the government in March 2022. AFP
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Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday accused certain "known parties", which he did not identify, of provoking a bread shortage crisis in the country.

Mr Saied told officials, during a visit to the Ministry of Agriculture, that the bread shortage issue "must be resolved within the upcoming few hours", as he believed certain parties would take advantage of the situation to cause shortages of other basic goods, including petrol.

“The issue of bread shortage is completely unacceptable, and the lack of basic materials of all kinds is a red line,” he said in a video clip posted on the official Tunisian Presidency Facebook page.

“A number of circles and lobbies are seeking to fuel the situation, and their names are known."

Mr Saied also accused administration officials in the Tunisian public sector of serving their partisan interests and causing different crises to score political points.

“They want to inflame the situation but we will put an end to that," he said.

"If they think that they will escape accountability, they are mistaken."

Tunisia has been going through a renewed bread shortage since last week.

But Tunisians have been suffering for months from shortages of food including sugar, cooking oil, coffee, milk and butter.

Cereal-based products disappear more often because of the disruption to the global market from the conflict in Ukraine.

The shortages, which have affected subsidised products, are mainly caused by a crisis in public finances as the state tries to avert bankruptcy while negotiating a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Updated: May 22, 2023, 10:02 PM