24 April 2013

Egypt: Nation to Reach Agreement With IMF Soon - Presidency

Photo: Victoria Hazou/IRIN
Girl selling lemons in Cairo (file photo).

Egypt's presidential spokesman said on Wednesday that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a $4.8 million loan have almost reached a conclusion.

Spokesman Ehab Fahmy added that in light of a national program for economic reform, the final agreement will put into consideration the living conditions of economically-disadvantaged groups.

Fahmy insisted that Egypt is heading in the right direction, adding that the ongoing dialogue with the IMF reflects a positive attitude.

Following a meeting between the IMF and an Egyptian delegation in Washington earlier this month, director of Egypt's Central Bank, Hisham Ramez, had said, that he expects negotiations to come to an end by April or May.

In a joint statement, the IMF and the Egyptian delegation confirmed on Sunday that an agreement is expected within the next few weeks.

As part of the deal, the IMF had asked Egypt to reduce its budget deficit, cut down its fuel subsidies and increase its tax revenues.

Egypt asked the IMF for the loan last November in hopes to save its economy that has struggled dramatically since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak more than two years ago.

An initial agreement was reached at the end of last year before negotiations were strained due to political unrest that broke out as a result of decisions made by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

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