Egypt Finance Minister Hegazi Sees IMF Aid Deal in a ‘Few Weeks’

Finance Minister El-Morsi El-Sayed Hegazi said an agreement on a loan with the International Monetary Fund can be achieved in “a few weeks” and urged the country’s political parties to unite around an economic program attached to the aid.

“We are promised that this will be in a few weeks,” Hegazi said in a Bloomberg News interview today in Washington when asked about the possible loan. “The IMF would like to see to what extent the political parties and the authorities are ready to have some prior actions” taken, such as a general sales tax, he said.

Egypt’s bid to conclude a $4.8 billion IMF loan agreement has been prolonged amid political bickering and unrest that made it harder to implement IMF-backed changes such as tax increases. The economy is still struggling to recover from the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

“Egypt needs their political parties to reconcile, to have consensus and to know that we can’t wait to resolve political issues,” Hegazi said.

Egypt’s negotiations with the IMF in Cairo ended this week without a loan agreement, halting a bond rally.

Hegazi also said the IMF wants Egypt to rationalize fuel subsidies. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde today said more work needs to be done for a loan and that the fund is working with Egyptian authorities.

“I very much hope that we can succeed,” she said at a press conference. “I very much hope that we do, because I think the country is exposed to vulnerabilities.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at srastello@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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