Egypt Should Freeze $4.8 Billion IMF Negotiations, Groups Say

Egypt’s talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan should be frozen because the negotiations are secretive and lack popular support, according to a letter released by 17 political parties, civil organizations and labor groups.

The loan negotiations process has “lacked transparency” from the government and IMF, talks continue in the absence of a parliament and public consultations have been “inaccessible,” according to the letter from the Popular Campaign to Drop Egypt’s Debt, an umbrella group, and addressed to Prime Minster Hisham Qandil and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

An IMF mission is in Cairo to discuss the country’s economic and social program, as the government seeks help to bridge the budget deficit and to win support from other lenders and donor nations. The 17 groups are scheduled to hold a protest today to underline their message.

“With little transparency and no clear economic program, the potential loan agreement continues to lack the ‘critical mass’ of support that the IMF requires as a necessary condition for financial assistance,” the letter said.

Among the signatories are three political parties affiliated with former presidential candidates, and a party set up by Muslim Brotherhood’s youth wing. The April 6th Movement, which took a leading role during last year’s revolution, has signed the letter, as well as unions active in Egypt’s labor movement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadine Marroushi in Cairo at nmarroushi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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