Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries.

Morocco’s Chamber of Representatives has adopted the revenue part of the Government’s 2014 finance bill (PLF 2014), designed to redress the public finances using the fiscal lever to raise taxes and to abolish existing tax breaks. The PLF 2014 is intended to accelerate the pace of structural reforms, to boost growth by supporting investment and businesses, to consolidate social mechanisms, to ensure the sustainability of the public finances, and to tightly control the budget deficit. It aims to achieve economic growth of 4.2 percent, and targets a budget deficit of 4.9 percent of GDP. [Tax-News]
Tunisia: GDP grew 2.4 percent in Q3 2013
The GDP at constant prices posted a 2.4 percent increase in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same quarter of 2012, according to preliminary results of the quarterly accounts of the National Institute of Statistics (INS). This accounts for 2.8 percent growth in the first nine months of 2013, year-on-year. Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) Chedly Ayari had announced in October that the growth rate of Tunisia will be around 2.7 percent at the end of the third quarter 2013. The IMF had predicted during the last month a growth rate of 3 percent for Tunisia in 2013, against 3.6 percent in 2012. [Africa Manager]
Egyptian government financial bodies suffered losses of EGP 10 billion during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to the latest report issued by the Ministry of Finance.The financial bodies received around EGP 3.4 billion in term of financing from the government, however, their revenues registered EGP 108 billion, representing only 91 percent of the targeted figure.“These losses are mainly directed by the increased expenditure on wages and the increased prices of electricity and water,” said Soad Bakhaty, the head of the Central Budget Department for Economic Bodies. Increasing minimum wage, Bakhaty said, would not necessarily result in additional net losses, since a balance could be achieved using the surplus from the application of maximum wage law to compensate. [DNE]
Libya hopes to have its first three dedicated Islamic banks operating next year to satisfy unmet demand for Sharia-complaint financial services, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday. Under former dictator Muammar Qaddafi, overthrown in 2011, the growth of Islamic banking was not encouraged and the entire financial system was kept undeveloped, as four state-controlled institutions dominated the industry. Authorities have decided to issue three Islamic banking licenses and the central bank has received five applications from local investors, which are currently being evaluated, said Abdulmajeed Almaguri, deputy director of the central bank’s banking supervision department. Currently the 16 banks operating in Libya, including seven foreign banks, offer mainly conventional banking services with some providing interest-free Islamic banking through Sharia-compliant windows, he said. [Reuters]
Also of Interest:
Egypt sees wheat self-sufficiency for subsidy program by 2019 | Reuters
Blog: Why Egypt’s army is bad at doing business | Rebel Economy
‘Jordan enjoys attractive, competitive environment despite challenges’ | Jordan Times
Libya’s economy standing on the edge of a cliff | Al Bawaba
Forsa mentoring program starts in Libya | Libya Herald
Morocco’s energy bill in 2012 amounted to 98 billion dirham | La Nouvelle [French]
Tunisia: FDI up 15.3 percent, still below 2010 levels| Africa Manager