Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Wednesday that a loan deal Egypt may secure with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will help boost international confidence in the country's flagging economy,
El-Sisi met Wednesday with members of the government's ministerial economic committee as the country struggles to shore up its ailing economy and restore market stability.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Sherif Ismael proposed means to provide funds necessary to restore market stability, including a lending programme by the IMF that Egypt says it is close to signing, the presidency said in a statement
The program, through which Egypt is seeking to secure $7 billion annually over three years, is aimed to ease the country's budget deficit which edged up to between 11 and 13 percent over the past six years, according to finance minister Amr El-Garhy.
The Prime Minister ordered the central bank governor, a member of the cabinet's economic committee, and the finance minister to complete negotiations for the loan programme with an IMF team that will visit Egypt in the next few days, the presidency added in the statement.
Any deal reached needs to be endorsed by the cabinet before it is sent to parliament for final ratification.
"The president stressed the importance of cooperation with the IMF through the support program to enhance international confidence in the economy and attract foreign investment, and therefore achieve monetary and financial stability," the statement, reported by state news agency MENA, added
The government is seeking a package of $12 billion from the IMF, $4 billion a year, with an interest rate of 1 or 1.5 percent, according to the finance minister.
The minister said this will include issuing $2-3 billion in international bonds, expected to be offered between September and October.
Egypt's economy has continued to struggle since the 2011 revolution that unleashed political turmoil, scaring off investors and tourists, both key sources of hard currency.
The country's plummeting foreign reserves have forced the Central Bank to devalue the Egyptian pound by nearly 15 percent in March, which has weakened to an unprecedented 13 to the dollar on the black market earlier this week.