Egypt govt still finalising IMF-mandated economic reform: Deputy FM

Bassem Abo Alabass, Monday 24 Sep 2012

Government has yet to finalise economic reform programme upon which $4.8bn IMF loan is contingent, deputy finance minister says Monday, stressing Egypt's rejection of outside interference in monetary policy

IMF program
Egypt's President Morsi meets with IMF Managing Director Lagarde at the Presidential Palace in Cairo (Photo: Reuters).

The Egyptian government has yet to finalise the economic reform programme upon which a promised $4.8 billion loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is contingent, Deputy Finance Minister Hany Kadry said Monday.

"When the government finalises the economic programme, it will discuss it with individuals representing all segments of society, including economists and politicians," Kadry told reporters at an investment conference organised in Cairo by Beltone Financial.

Egypt is currently seeking budgetary support from the IMF to help the country jump-start economic growth. During an August visit to Cairo by IMF head Christine Lagarde, Cairo requested loans worth a total of $4.8 billion.

The loan stipulates, however, that the Egyptian government present the multilateral financial institution with proposals on how it planned to reform the country's troubled post-revolution economy.

Kadry explained that the programme's key objective was raising Egypt's economic growth rate within the coming five years from a current 2 per cent to between 6 and 7.5 per cent, stressing that such high rates of growth would guarantee long-term fiscal stability.

After year-long negotiations between Egypt’s government and the IMF, talks between the two parties were reopened in August. Little information, however, has been forthcoming about Egypt's new economic programme.

Government officials, for their part, emphasise that the current programme will be entirely different from programmes proposed earlier this year, which had been heavily criticised by Egypt's now-suspended Islamist-led parliament.

Kadry stressed that the IMF loan facility would not trespass on Egypt's financial autonomy.

"Egypt will not allow any entity to interfere in its monetary policy," he said, adding that the reform programme represented the IMF's sole condition for the loan.

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