PM discusses elections, budget deficit with military council

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri met with members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Saturday to discuss preparations for the third round of parliamentary elections. Ganzouri also presented drafts of laws expected to be issued over the coming period.

While some considered the meeting a routine, a senior government official told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Ganzouri proposed procedures for financing the budget deficit. Ganzouri once again raised the possibility of taking a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said.

The same official added that Ganzouri, who is vested with presidential powers, briefed the SCAF on plans to sell 78,000 feddans in Sinai, of which 30 percent will be allocated to Sinai residents.

The official also said that the government will communicate with the IMF once again to see if it is possible for Egypt to take out a loan of LE20 billion.

Meanwhile, the IMF said it is ready to work with Egyptian authorities.

Wafaa Amer, spokesperson for the IMF, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that it had previously agreed to grant Egypt LE3 billion. However, the government withdrew its request for assistance.

Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s government decided in May not to go ahead with negotiations to take out a LE3 billion loan, to be paid off over 5 years with a 1.5 percent interest rate, after the SCAF rejected the move.

However, the decline in the economy has driven the government to review its position, particularly as the budget deficit rises. The deficit is expected to reach LE160 billion.

The IMF says it has US$35 billion to lend to Middle Eastern and North African countries following a year of political unrest that led to the overthrow of the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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