Exceptional measures taken by the Central Bank of Tunisia to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID – 19)
The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) has announced the adoption of a series of exceptional measures aimed at mitigating the impact of this critical phase on the various sectors. These measures relate to the field of monetary policy and are aimed at easing the financial burden on individuals and companies, particularly SMEs.
Below is a summary of the decisions taken in this context:
- Reduction of the BCT’s key interest rate by 100 basis points to 6.75%.
- Adoption of circular n° 2020-05 of March 19, 2020 :
Subject: Measures relating to the pricing and continuity of certain banking services.
This circular aim to encourage remote operations and the reduction of travel to branches, in particular by obliging banks on an exceptional and temporary basis to:
- offer free interbank withdrawal of banknotes from Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs);
- suspend, for any transaction whose value does not exceed one hundred (100) dinars, the charging of any commission applied to billers and merchants for the electronic payment service;
- issue, free of charge, a bank card to any customer holding an account who so requests.
- take the necessary measures to issue, free of charge, a prepaid bank card to any person who so requests
- Adoption of Circular No. 2020-06 of 19 March 2020 :
- Subject: support measures for companies and professionals.
- This circular provides :
- The postponement of the fall of credits (in principal and interest) due during the period from 1 March to the end of September 2020 and the revision of the amortization table, according to the capacity of each beneficiary. This measure concerns professional credits granted to customers classified 0 and 1 at the end of December 2019, who apply to banks and financial institutions by any means leaving a written record.
- The possibility for banks to grant new financing to the beneficiaries of the maturity extension.
- The support measures will not be regarded as a restructuring operation and the deferral period will not be taken into account in calculating the age of arrears under Circular No 24 of 17 December 1991.
- The possibility of extending these measures to customers classified 2 and 3 at the end of December 2019 and depending on the assessment of the customer’s situation.
- The deletion of articles 2 and 3 (on a provisional basis) of circular n°10 of November 1st, 2018 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter of the year 2020 and replace them by the following:
Banks whose “Loans/Deposits” ratio is above 120% at the end of a given quarter must reduce this ratio by 1% each quarter. The calculation of this reduction is made according to conditions specified in the Circular. (See Article 4)
- The obligation for banks and financial institutions to communicate each month to the BCT, a list of beneficiaries of support measures according to the table provided in Annex No. 1 of the circular.