Egypt To Work Harder To Secure IMF Aid

Egypt needs to do more to secure a $3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, including gathering broad political support and identifying other sources to finance its funding gap of up to $12 billion, an IMF official said on Wednesday.

Masood Ahmed, IMF director for the Middle East, said Egypt still needed to do “some technical work” to finalize its economic program.

Asked whether he thought there was enough domestic political support for the program, Ahmed said: “I think that process (of getting political support) is advancing but I do not think we are at the point yet where we could move forward.”

“There’s still more work to be done to close down those three areas,” he said, referring to the economic program, political support and alternative financial sources.

“We are ready as soon as pillars are there for that program to move forward relatively quickly,” Ahmed said after presenting the regional economic outlook in Dubai.

Egypt and the IMF are in discussions on a $3.2 billion loan program, which Egypt had requested earlier this year but which had been opposed by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

Egypt’s $236 billion economy has been laid low by 18 months of political turmoil.

Last week, parliament overwhelmingly rejected the army-appointed cabinet’s plan to cut state spending, hampering the government’s efforts to secure IMF help needed to avoid a fiscal crisis and potential currency devaluation, Reuters reported.

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