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Egypt close to securing cash required for IMF package: Minister

Finance Minister Amr Al-Garhy says various deals to secure bilateral financing stipulated for the IMF long-awaited deal are complete

Ahram Online , Friday 7 Oct 2016
Amr El-Garhy
inance Minister Amr El-Garhy at a news conference in Cairo, Egypt August 11, 2016 (Reuters)
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Egypt is about to meet a stipulation imposed by the International Monetary Fund in order to secure several billions of dollars to seal a mooted $12 billion loan, the finance minister said.

“We’re around that number, more or less,” Egypt’s minister Amr El-Garhy said in an interview in Washington with Bloomberg on Thursday.

The Egyptian government needs to secure $5-6 billion in bilateral financing for the first year of the three-year programme to seal the deal and get a final approval by the IMF executive committee.

The minister declined to reveal the sources of funding but said that several deals are concluded or being finalised.

“Some have been completed; some are still in the final fine-tuning phase.”

The minister said the loan agreement with the IMF is “going well” and that “the fact that we are still completing certain issues does not mean there are any hiccups.”

Egypt needs the loan to stimulate its flagging economy that has been rocked by political turmoil unleashed by the 2011 revolution, which has scared off investors and tourists.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had said the package will help boost international confidence in the country's ailing economy,

Egypt has secured pledges from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for about $4.5 billion to contribute to the money required, but this has yet to materialise.

Egypt had said it hopes to issue between $3 billion and $5 billion in international bonds. Al-Garhy said the government targets late October or early November as the date for the issuance.

A preliminary deal with the IMF on the lending programme was reached in August.

“Hopefully something will be clear by then about the U.S. elections,” he said. “Markets have become very anxious.”

He said the government is working with its advisers “on what we need to do and on the timing" to handle how the vote might affect the scheduled date of sale.

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