Egypt to invite IMF team for loan talks

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Egypt will invite the IMF on Thursday to reopen negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, state newspaper Al Ahram reported, and the investment minister expressed hope that a deal could be done by the end of April. International Monetary Fund support is seen as crucial to help ease an economic crisis rooted in two years of political turmoil that has depleted foreign currency reserves to critically low levels. Egypt reached an initial agreement on the loan in November but postponed final ratification following political unrest in Cairo, which led the government to put off tax increases needed to rein in the budget deficit. "Today, Thursday, a formal invitation will be sent to the technical delegation of the International Monetary Fund to come to Cairo to negotiate over the $4.8 billion loan to Egypt," Planning and International Cooperation Minister Ashraf Al Araby said in remarks reported by the state-run Al Ahram newspaper. On its website, the paper also quoted him as saying he expected the delegation to arrive in Cairo "within 10 days". Separately, Investment Minister Osama Saleh told journalists he expected the deal to be concluded by the end of April. "We have hope, God willing, that we can, by the end of April complete the loan," he said.
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