Tunisia - The volume of embezzled funds during the regime of ousted former president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali (1987 to 2010) reached nearly $39 billion, representing 88.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, or an estimated loss of 3.695.7 dollars for each Tunisian, according to a report published by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES).

The average annual loss to the Tunisian economy under the Ben Ali regime was around $1.56 billion, compared with an average annual loss of $278 million during the period of the late president Habib Bourguiba, the data in the report which refers to international university studies, shows.

The report highlights the diversification of legal transfer channels, which is explained by the increase in the number of non-resident companies. The latter reached 29061 in 2018, compared with 6101 in 2002. It noted that a large number of tax and financial advantages are granted to non-resident companies.

In many cases, these benefits constitute a legal incentive to expropriate funds and protect financial inflows caused by the continuous decline in the value of the dinar.

Since taking office, President Kais Saied called for efforts to be stepped up to recover funds looted at home and abroad before and after 2011 and to use them to boost development and help the underserved.

However, enormous administrative and other difficulties have prevented the political will to recover these looted funds from becoming a reality.

During his meeting with the Foreign Minister (on August 29), the Head of State called to step up diplomatic efforts, both bilaterally and in co-operation with international and regional organisations, to recover assets and property stolen from Tunisians abroad.

The Head of State also called for efforts to be coordinated with countries whose populations have been experiencing the same situation for decades.

© Tap 2022 Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).