An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation submitted a report to the Egyptian Ministry of Finance in which it praised the customs reforms in spite of the challenges the country faces, an official statement from the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday.
The ministry had requested the IMF’s evaluation of the Egyptian Customs Authority, as well technical assistance from the fund to help improve the authority’s performance.
The Finance Ministry said the IMF’s recommendations included creating a system to evaluate the performance of each individual customs collecting authority and whether legislations are implemented as soon as they are passed.
Director of the Middle East and Central Africa Department at the IMF Masood Ahmed said on 15 April that the Egyptian government’s effort to reform the business sector has moved forward, but that it is “a little bit slower in terms of the budget deficit”.
“Authorities intended to have a budget deficit below 10 percent for this year. In the end, they were not able to achieve that,” Ahmed said. “VAT implementation has been postponed for a bit.”
The IMF official said the fund welcomes the devaluation of the Egyptian pound as well as the Central Bank of Egypt’s move to introduce a flexible exchange rate system.
The official stressed that the Egyptian government has not officially applied for a loan, adding that the IMF “stands ready to help Egypt and the people of Egypt”.
US-based financial services firm JP Morgan issued a statement recently that said the Egyptian government will finalise an IMF loan before the end of the fiscal year.
Ahmed told Daily News Egypt that the growth forecast for Egypt this year ranges between 3-3.5 percent, down from 4.2 percent last year.