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Egypt to resume talks with IMF in January, currency will not be floated: PM

January will see new talks with the IMF over a $4.8 billion loan, says Prime Minister Hisham Qandil

Ahram Online, Sunday 30 Dec 2012
Morsi and Qandil
Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, left, meets with the prime minister Hesham Kandil (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced Sunday that talks with the International Monetary Fund will be resumed in January over the $4.8 billion loan, which was suspended due to political tensions that followed the presidential constitutional decree in November.

Qandil was speaking at a Cabinet press conference, denying rumours about the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, especially after it reached its lowest value, recording 6.36 to the US dollar.

"The Central Bank of Egypt can handle the monetary policy of the state and it will never allow the local currency to be floated," Qandil commented.

Speaking on recent tax hikes that were immediately rescinded, the prime minister assured, “The new taxes will not touch vital and basic commodities such as fuel and bread. I want to reassure Egyptians that there is no governmental intention to increase fuel prices in the coming period.”

The prime minister stated that 5.2 million households received natural gas between 1982 (when natural has was first introduced domestically) until 2012. The government plans to deliver natural gas to a further 750,000 households by the end of 2013 in order to reach two million units by July 2014.

Natural gas is the alternative to butane cylinders, which saw several shortages over the last year. According to Qandil, natural gas pipelines will save Egypt roughly LE1.2 billion ($19 million).

Turning to political matters, Qandil refused to give details on an awaited ministerial shuffle.

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