Sisi says economic reforms 'hard' but 'essential' to save economy

Saturday 15-10-2016 03:15 PM

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. REUTERS

CAIRO, Oct 15 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday that the economic reforms that are being taken by the state are "hard" but "essential" to save the economy.

On the $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the reform programme, the president told national newspapers' editors-in-chief in a meeting on Friday that the programme aims to make sure that subsidies reach those who deserve it and reducing the debt service bill

He stressed that  low-income individuals will not face the reforms without protection.

Egypt's latest resort to the IMF has been widely discussed among scholars, researchers, journalists and the wider public in recent weeks due to its eminent influence on the market and more importantly on the livelihood of Egyptians.

In order to secure the loan, Egypt is pushing ahead  with reforms which include plans for a VAT tax and further subsidy cuts that were put on hold when global oil prices dropped.

In August, the IMF reached a staff-level agreement with Egypt for a $12 billion three-year funding facility to support the government's reform programme.

The loan is yet to be approved by the IMF executive committee.

Last Saturday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagard said that Egypt has “almost completed” prior actions necessary for the IMF's board to formally approve the loan. 

Director of the IMF's Middle East department Masood Ahmed said earlier that the fund’s initial loan payment to Egypt will be about $2.5 billion

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