TUNIS - Tunisia hopes to seal a funding agreement with the IMF in April, its finance minister said on Wednesday, adding that public sector salaries were not at risk after delays in paying workers raised fears about state finances.
Talks between the International Monetary Fund and Tunisia over a rescue package predicated on painful economic reforms were halted in July, when President Kais Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority.
The discussions resumed after Saied, whose move critics have described as a coup, laid out plans for a referendum and parliamentary elections this year.
The IMF and foreign donors also say the outlined economic reforms, including to state subsidies, would need broad backing, including from the powerful UGTT union and major political players, for a deal to be secured.
Finance Minister Sihem Boughdiri told reporters that reform proposals had been presented to the UGTT, "which will respond to us in the coming days... Their comments will be discussed... to reach a consensus".
He also said state sector wages were "not under threat in the coming months."
Concerns had been raised after payments were delayed in January, when teachers' salaries arrived 10 days late.
The IMF has also urged Tunisia to reform its public sector wage system and loss-making state-owned companies.
(Reporting by Tarek Amara; editing by John Stonestreet) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))