An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by the head of the fund’s mission to Egypt Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, began discussions in Cairo on Saturday regarding the first and second reviews of the reform program that the IMF supports through the Extended Fund Facility.
The spokesperson for the IMF said that the Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, Jihad Azour, visited Egypt early last week, where the fund held the annual meeting of its local offices for the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus and Central Asia regions, and met with government officials and regional stakeholders.
He added that the IMF team met with the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala al-Saeed, the CEO of The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), Ayman Soliman, assistant ministers, and senior officials in the ministry.
Saeed presented the IMF team with details of the structural reform program and what has been accomplished thus far, alongside national accounts and growth rates.
The IMF team requested to know the size of the expected cash flows to the TSFE from future projects, and praised the design of the program of the structural reforms.
They also discussed the historic hotel sale deal that the government recently completed with the participation of the private sector and TSFE.
The IMF discussed when the value of the deal would be transferred to the government’s accounts, the value of what will go into the public treasury, and what will be used to pay for debts.
Government sources said that the IMF team will hold subsequent technical meetings with leaders of Planning Ministry and senior officials of TSFE, to review the details of preparing the plan, the priorities of the investment plan, the planning system, economic development, and projects.
They added that the meeting did not address any measures related full devaluation of the Egyptian currency or increase in financing for the Egyptian program that the IMF recently announced.
The sources said that the meeting also didn’t discuss the timing of transferring the two late tranches of the loan, worth about $700 million out of the total value of the loan amounting roughly three billion dollars.
Egypt so far has received one tranche worth US$347 million.
The sources explained that the IMF team is scheduled to continue its meetings with several ministries in the coming days, particularly the ministries of Finance, Petroleum, and Transport, as well as the Central Bank of Egypt, to complete a review of what has been accomplished so far in the economic and structural reform program.
The Chairman of the Plan and Budget Committee in the House of Representatives former expert at the IMF, Fakhri al-Fiqi, anticipates that after completing the review, the IMF will increase the financing program as well as transfer the two late tranches – especially as the government is moving towards implementing the agreed upon economic reforms.
Fiqi added that the fund’s debt cannot be scheduled, structured, or dropped, especially since it is a guaranteed debt, but the value of the loan can be increased so that the government can pay its obligations towards it in installments, which amount to about $5.5 billion until June.