The International Monetary Fund said more work needs to be done before signing a $3.2 billion loan with Egypt, raising the possibility that the funds won’t be delivered as soon as the Egyptian government had anticipated.
The IMF has said Egypt must submit an economic program supported by political groups that will run the country after the transition from military rule. Parliament, dominated by Islamists who are calling for the military-appointed Cabinet to be fired, voted against the government’s platform last month.
“There is still a little bit of work to be done to get to the point where we could say to our board that this is a program that has the kind of support that we could confidently feel will lead to its implementation,” Masood Ahmed, director of the Middle East and Central Asia at the IMF, told a news conference in Dubai today.
His remarks throw into question whether Egypt will sign the IMF agreement by May 15, as announced by Finance Minister Momtaz El-Saieed last month. El-Saieed didn’t answer calls by Bloomberg News seeking comment today.
Economists such as Raza Agha of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc say IMF support is necessary to rebuild investor confidence in Egypt after the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year. The country has spent more than half its foreign currency reserves since the start of 2011, and domestic borrowing costs are close to a record high.