Egypt is discussing financial packages for budgetary and other support with Saudi Arabia and the UAE that could exceed a total of $5 billion (Dh18 billion) based on figures initially proposed, the Egyptian finance minister said yesterday.
Hazem Al Beblawi also told Reuters that Cairo was open to "all sorts of cooperation" with the International Monetary Fund, which offered a $3 billion financing package earlier this year that Egypt then turned down in June.
The IMF package was negotiated and turned down when another minister was in office. The minister said at the time Egypt had revised its budget so it no longer needed the cash and also said army rulers were concerned about building up debts. New minister Al Beblawi said: "We are open for all sorts of cooperation that will include everything ... We are considering the whole thing according to the needs of the country," he said before talks to be held during IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington this month.
"I don't want to give the impression that I am going to negotiate for a loan, but I am going with an open mind," the finance minister said, adding that he would listen to any proposals the institutions made.
The government forecasts its budget deficit for the year ending June 2012 will be 8.6 per cent of gross domestic product.
It had been forecast at 11 per cent before it was revised down. Economists say the lower forecast may be optimistic.