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(hydrocarbons sector)

The 2013 RGI did not include Tunisia. This assessment, which focuses on the hydrocarbons (oil and gas) sector, was conducted in 2014 using the same 2013 RGI methodology. The rankings represent estimates of how Tunisia might have fared vis-à-vis the countries that were assessed in 2013.

In January 2011, a revolution put an end to the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia. The conflict had origins in 2008 uprisings in the country’s phosphate mining regions in protest of the poor governance of the extractive sector. Since the regime fell, much attention has focused on governance of the extractive sector. The country namely passed a new constitution in 2014, including provisions related to transparency and accountability.

Tunisia’s Performance on the RGI

Tunisia received a “weak” score of 49, ranking 28th out of 59 countries. A high score on Institutional and Legal Setting contrasts with poor Reporting Practices and an unfavorable Enabling Environment.
(out of 59)
(out of 100)
28 Composite Score 49
18 Institutional & Legal Setting 75
Freedom of information law 100
Comprehensive sector legislation 100
EITI participation 33
Independent licensing process 83
Environmental and social impact assessments required 50
Clarity in revenue collection 67
Comprehensive public sector balance 67
SOC financial reports required 100
Fund rules defined in law N/A
Subnational transfer rules defined in law N/A
47 Reporting Practices 31
Licensing process 17
Contracts 0
Environmental and social impact assessments 0
Exploration data 0
Production volumes 50
Production value 33
Primary sources of revenue 25
Secondary sources of revenue 0
Subsidies N/A
Operating company names 0
Comprehensive SOC reports 84
SOC production data 86
SOC revenue data 13
SOC quasi fiscal activities N/A
SOC board of directors 100
Fund rules N/A
Comprehensive fund reports N/A
Subnational transfer rules N/A
Comprehensive subnational transfer reports N/A
Subnational reporting of transfers N/A
25 Safeguards & Quality Controls 62
Checks on licensing process 11
Checks on budgetary process 44
Quality of government reports 21
Government disclosure of conflicts of interest 100
Quality of SOC reports 50
SOC reports audited 67
SOC use of international accounting standards 100
SOC disclosure of conflicts of interest 100
Quality of fund reports N/A
Fund reports audited N/A
Government follows fund rules N/A
Checks on fund spending N/A
Fund disclosure of conflicts of interest N/A
Quality of subnational transfer reports N/A
Government follows subnational transfer rules N/A
23 Enabling Environment 44
Corruption (TI Corruption Perceptions Index & WGI control of corruption) 55
Open Budget (IBP Index) 16
Accountability & democracy (EIU Democracy Index & WGI voice and accountability) 45
Government effectiveness (WGI) 56
Rule of law (WGI) 51
Satisfactory Weak
Partial Failing
To explore all data and compare
scores, use the RGI Data Tool.

Institutional and Legal Setting (Rank: 18th/59; Score: 75/100) learn more

The advanced petroleum law in Tunisia has earned the country a “satisfactory” score of 75.

The General Directorate of Energy examines the offers it receives for the free petroleum blocks on a quarterly basis and grants licenses after direct negotiations with petroleum companies. The latter then sign a partnership agreement or a production sharing contract with the Entreprise Tunisienne d’Activités Pétrolières (ETAP).

Most taxes that extractive companies pay are collected by the finance ministry. In the case of a production-sharing contract, ETAP collects the state’s share of profit-oil and profit-tax for the account of the partner company. ETAP pays this tax to the state.

In 2011, the government issued a decree that regulates access to the administrative documents of public bodies. The effects of this decree are yet to materialize, though many bills guaranteeing the right to access to information for all citizens are currently being debated.

The country does not implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), but on June 1st 2012 the prime minister did voice the intention to join.

Reporting Practices (Rank: 47th/59, Score: 31/100) learn more

Given the very limited amount of information available for most aspects of the hydrocarbons sector, Tunisia received a “failing” score of 31.

The licensing process is determined by law but little information on the actual terms is available. Exploration permits are granted on the basis of applicants’ technical and financial capacity criteria. Nonetheless, the energy ministry and the Hydrocarbon Advisory Committee have the discretion to accept, reject, or renegotiate offers. A press statement announcing the identity of an offer’s beneficiary is usually published, but no information about investments or the rate of cost-oil or profit-oil is disclosed. Similarly, while special convention models are published in the official gazette, partnership agreements and production-sharing contracts are not accessible to the public. Environmental impact assessments are not published.

The finance ministry discloses an aggregated amount of revenues for the petroleum sector, but does not publish any other information about the sector. The same applies to the energy ministry, which refers to the data published by ETAP. The central bank publishes aggregated information on the volumes and values of the oil and gas production, and the national statistics institute discloses the export value.

Safeguards and Quality Controls (Rank: 25th/59; Score: 62/100) learn more

Tunisia received a “partial” score of 62 due to the lack of effective oversight by the parliament over oil revenues and over the licensing process.

Civil servants involved in the sector are legally bound to submit a statement of assets to the concerned ministry in the beginning and at the end of their mandate (or every five years if they remain in office). These statements are not public.

Company payments are audited by the finance ministry’s fiscal administration, yet reports are not published. As of 2014, the constitution provides for parliamentary oversight over licenses and contracts. Time will tell what this will look like in practice.

Enabling Environment (Rank: 23rd/ 59; Score: 44/100) learn more

Tunisia scored a “weak” 44, reflecting an improvement at the level of democracy and accountability, compared to the pre-2011 period, but reflecting a persistent lack in budget transparency and average performances in terms of corruption control and rule of law.

State-Owned Companies (Rank: 12th/46; Score: 78/100) learn more

ETAP is entirely owned by the state. The company publishes regular and usually comprehensive reports including information on the country’s hydrocarbon reserves, production volumes, prices, export value, exploration investment estimates, names of companies operating in the country, its rate of participation in joint-ventures, as well as the composition of its board of directors. However, the company does not publish any information about the operations of its subsidiaries. ETAP’s accounts have been regularly audited by the court of audits since 2012.

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