IMF and govt agree on economic program, official says

A senior government official said Thursday there has been a convergence of views between the IMF and the Egyptian government at the beginning of a new round of negotiations over a US$4.2 billion loan.

The government and the IMF aim to reach an agreement before the end of the year, which is expected to open the door to financing from other international lenders including the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

The official, who is close to the negotiations, said, “At the beginning of negotiations two days ago, the IMF delegation consented to the economic program and regulations proposed by the Egyptian government.”

The current talks are focusing on reforming the Egyptian economy, the source said, adding that signing the loan contract is a political decision.

The talks did not address the exchange rate or devaluing the pound, the source stressed, since the president, the finance minister and the governor of the Central Bank have all rejected this.

The government would announce the details of the negotiations and the reform program when meetings with the IMF delegation are concluded, the official said.

He said that some ideas were included in the program which were taken from community dialogue sessions, while others are still being studied by the government.

The current round of negotiations is proceeding “normally,” the official said. He added that any details regarding the restructuring of subsidy systems are in the hands of the Cabinet.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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