Egypt making final changes to $1.7 billion IMF loan request

April 19, 2013 at 2:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- Egypt is working to shape new economic reforms rapidly after the International Monetary Fund said the current plan is "weak," an Egyptian official said.

The government wants to qualify for a $4.8 billion loan from the international economic organization, Ahram Online reported Friday. An IMF delegation to Cairo this month considered the existing proposal "weak and not rigorous," an Egyptian official close to the negotiations said.

Commenting from Washington, the official -- whose name was not reported -- said Egypt was pulling together "a more convincing program with more precise figures and a clearer time frame."

The official said the IMF needed more information about how the government planned to implement a coupon plan that would cut energy subsidies.

Such subsidies account for about 20 percent of the Egyptian budget, with authorities estimating they will reach $1.7 billion by the end of the fiscal year in June. The cost of subsidies is expected to rise by 12 percent next year.

The Egyptian delegation, comprised of the ministers of finance and planning and the governor of the central bank, is expected to present a final plan Saturday to IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

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