News / Middle East

Egypt Promises Speedy Action on Economic Plan

FILE - An Egyptian holds a piece of bread to protest against the high prices of goods in Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 8, 2013. FILE - An Egyptian holds a piece of bread to protest against the high prices of goods in Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 8, 2013.
x
FILE - An Egyptian holds a piece of bread to protest against the high prices of goods in Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 8, 2013.
FILE - An Egyptian holds a piece of bread to protest against the high prices of goods in Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 8, 2013.
Reuters
Egypt will send a new economic plan needed to secure a lifeline from the International Monetary Fund to parliament within two days after releasing a summary that makes no mention of cutting subsidies and other politically sensitive measures.

Cairo is trying to secure a $4.8 billion IMF loan to shore up its finances as the economy faces a deep crisis rooted in two years of political turmoil that have drained foreign currency reserves to a critical level. The turmoil has driven away foreign investors and tourists who are a major source of the foreign currency Egypt needs to import fuel and wheat.

Finance Minister Al-Mursi Hegazy told reporters a revised economic reform plan would be sent to the parliament within two days, and then to the IMF immediately afterwards.
 
"As soon as the laws are sent to parliament, they will be sent [to the IMF],'' he told reporters, adding he expected a response from the IMF within about 10 days to two weeks after the plan was sent to them.

Asked when Egypt planned to invite an IMF delegation to resume talks on the loan, Hegazy said: "I think within 10 days to two weeks.''

The IMF and Egypt agreed on the loan in principle in November, but ratification was suspended at Cairo's behest in December after Mursi announced and then suspended tax increases that drew heavy criticism from the opposition.

A summary of the revised plan released by the government on Monday called for a levy on stock market transactions and a flat 25 percent tax on Egyptian companies, but did not spell out plans for cutting subsidy spending or detail other tax increases.
       
The government aims to raise 450 million Egyptian pounds [$66.8 million] a year from the stock exchange tax, Hani Qadri, Egypt's deputy minister of finance said at a press conference.

Subsidies

A fifth of the state budget goes on energy subsidies alone, but cutting them is widely unpopular, making it a sensitive issue ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled to start in April.

As part of its plan to cut fuel subsidies, the government raised prices for fuel oil by 50 percent last week for some industries. It also plans to implement a quota system for subsidized fuel in July and hopes energy use in the country to be at cost price within three years.

On Monday, Investment Minister Osama Saleh said Egypt would reopen talks with the IMF next month.

Egypt's foreign currency reserves tumbled to $13.6 billion in January from $36 billion before Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011. The Egyptian pound has fallen over eight percent since the central bank started auctioning dollars at the end of December.
       
The government is targeting a deficit for this financial year of 189.7 billion Egyptian pounds [$28 billion], or 10.9 percent of total economic output.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid