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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid