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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid