Egypt finance minister rules out new IMF deals

Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait on Thursday ruled out new agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The decision to reduce the prices of natural gas for factories came after a one year of consultations with the IMF, Maait told Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank’s fall annual meetings in Washington DC.

“Discussions with the IMF are ongoing,” the minister said, adding that the reduction aimed to support industrial sectors and was not linked to the Fund’s requirements.

Last week, Egypt reduced the price it offers natural gas to six industries, and will have a new assessment every six months, the minister added.

Egypt’s economic growth is on an upward trend despite the current global slowdown, Maait said.

Egypt is at the end of a three-year economic reform programme tied to a $12 billion loan from the IMF, which has been disbursed in full.

In November 2016, the country signed a three-year, $12 billion Extended Fund Facility, after allowing its currency to depreciate sharply, implementing a valued-added tax and raising fuel prices to reduce its balance of payments budget and deficits.

In August, Egypt has received the final $2 billion tranche of its IMF loan.