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Egypt to close $12bn IMF deal 'within two months'

The multi-billion dollar package has yet to be approved by the IMF's executives [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2016

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Egypt is in the final stages of signing a multi-billion dollar aid package from the IMF, despite popular outcry about the move.
Egypt is expecting to close a $12 billion aid package from the International Monetary Fund within two months, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said Monday.

"I imagine that we will be signing the loan within the coming two months and before the end of the year," Ismail told Egyptian broadcaster CBC.

The prime minister added that the government's new reform programme - which is geared towards reducing Egypt's budget deficit - was not pushed as a requirement by the IMF for the loan's approval.

This new announcement follows the preliminary approval of the three-year funding programme in August, which has yet to be endorsed by the IMF's executive board.

Egypt depends heavily on imports, and is facing a foreign currency crisis and is under increasing pressure to devalue the pound.

The central bank has kept steady at 8.88 Egyptian pounds to the dollar since March, when it devalued the currency by 13 percent.

But the IMF loan has sparked criticism from economists and Egyptians, who believe the steps Egypt has to take to secure the deal will hurt poorer Egyptians the most.

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