Last updated: 3 December, 2011

Egypt still unsure about IMF loan

Egypt’s future finance minister said on Saturday it was too soon to say whether the country would take a loan of $3.2 billion offered by the International Monetary Fund to fund its budget deficit.

“It is too soon to know the outcome for this agreement with the IMF for a loan of $3.2 billion dollars, (for) the budget deficit estimated at 134 billion Egyptian pounds ($22 billion),” Mumtaz Said said in a statement.

The loan deal with the IMF in June has been the subject of various contradictory statements from the military-backed government in charge in Egypt since the revolution in January and February.

Saturday’s statement from the new administration of Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzuri announced that Said, the former deputy finance minister, would be promoted to take the portfolio in a new cabinet that has been partly named.

Ganzuri is to keep about 10 members of the previous administration which was forced to step down after huge street protests over its handling of the country’s transition to democracy.

Egypt’s economy has slumped since the revolution because of a fall in receipts from its vital tourism industry, a key source of foreign exchange, and an investment climate badly affected by instability and violence.

The army, which stepped in after Mubarak’s fall, announced a loan of $1.0 billion on Thursday to the central bank and warned that foreign reserves might cover imports only until the end of February.