U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waits on stage before receiving the Tipperary International Peace Award in Tipperary, Ireland October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
CAIRO, Nov 6 (Aswat Masriya) - US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised Egypt on Saturday for undertaking “important steps” as part of the country’s ongoing economic reform program.
Egypt’s central bank announced on Thursday the floatation of the Egyptian pound before the country decided to raise energy prices by 30-47 per cent in a bid to meet the criteria for a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Liberalising its foreign exchange system and reducing costly fuel subsidies demonstrates a determination to put the country on the path to economic recovery,” Kerry said in a statement issued on the US Department of State website.
The decision came in the context of the government's economic reform programme that aims to reduce the budget deficit and the public debt, according to the central bank's press release on Thursday.
“The task before them is a challenging one, but it is encouraging that Egyptian leaders are making the difficult decisions needed to move their country towards prosperity,” Kerry added.
The IMF Mission Chief in Egypt Chris Jarvis had welcomed Egypt’s decision saying in a statement on Thursday that the flexible exchange rate regime will improve the country’s external competitiveness, support exports and tourism and attract foreign investment.
Egypt, scrambling to collect money as it faces a shortage in foreign currency, is waiting for approval by the IMF board of a three-year loan program worth $12 billion.
Egypt’s foreign reserves have reached $19.59 billion at the end of September., the highest in over a year but still more than 40 per cent below levels before the Jan. 2011 uprising.