IMF Staff and the Egyptian Authorities Reach Staff Level Agreement on the First and Second Reviews under the EFF Arrangement

March 6, 2024

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF's Executive Board for discussion and decision.
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and the Egyptian authorities have reached staff level agreement on a set of comprehensive policies and reforms needed to complete the first and second reviews under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.
  • Key economic reforms include a move to a flexible exchange rate system, tightening of monetary and fiscal policies, and a slowdown in infrastructure spending to reduce inflation, and preserve debt sustainability, while fostering an environment that enables private sector activity. These policies will help preserve macroeconomic stability, restore confidence, and allow Egypt to manage the challenges associated with recent external shocks.
  • Amid a more challenging external environment the authorities have requested an augmentation of the original arrangement from US$ 3 billion to about US$8 billion.

Cairo: An International Monetary Fund mission led by Ivanna Vladkova Hollar held in-person discussions with the authorities during January 17-February 1 in Cairo. The mission continued virtually over the last few weeks to finalize key aspects of the agreement. At the conclusion of the discussions, Ms. Vladkova Hollar issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to announce that the Egyptian authorities and the IMF team have reached staff level agreement on the economic policies needed to complete the first and second reviews of the EFF arrangement. Amid significant macroeconomic challenges that have become more complex to manage with the impact of the recent conflict in Gaza on tourism and Suez Canal receipts, staff also considered the authorities’ request for an augmentation of IMF support to Egypt from SDR 2.35 billion (equivalent to about US$ 3 billion) to SDR 6.11 (equivalent to about US$ 8 billion). This agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board. The comprehensive policy package seeks to preserve debt sustainability, restore price stability, and reinstate a well-functioning exchange rate system, while continuing to push forward deep structural reforms to promote private sector-led growth and job creation.

“The authorities are showing strong commitment to act promptly on all critical aspects of their economic reform program supported by the IMF. Policy discussions and program reforms revolved around six pillars.

“First, the authorities have taken decisive steps to move toward a credible flexible exchange rate regime. This reform, which has started with the unification of the exchange rate between the official and parallel markets will (i) help increase the availability of foreign exchange and eliminate the current backlog of unmet foreign exchange demand, and (ii) re-establish a well-functioning interbank market for foreign exchange. There was agreement that a flexible exchange rate regime would help Egypt manage external shocks and would support the authorities’ decision to move toward a full-fledge inflation targeting regime over time.

“Second, additional monetary policy tightening to reduce inflation, and reverse the recent dollarization trend. In this regard, we welcome the recent decision by the Central Bank of Egypt to increase the policy rate by 600 basis points, in addition to the 200 basis points undertaken last month.

“Third, fiscal consolidation to preserve debt sustainability. The authorities agreed to maintain fiscal prudence over the medium-term and step-up efforts to mobilize additional domestic revenues, including through the rationalization of tax exemptions as well as to use a substantial part of divestiture proceeds to reduce debt.

“Fourth, a new framework to slow down infrastructure spending including projects that have so far operated outside regular budget oversight. In particular, the authorities noted that they would limit the total amount of public investment from all sources (i.e., budget, State Owned Enterprises, economic authorities, and other entities), and the Prime Minister has issued a decree that sets up a monitoring mechanism under his supervision, with participation from all relevant authorities present, and to be headed by Central Audit Agency.

“Fifth, the authorities also agreed on the need to provide adequate levels of social spending to protect vulnerable groups. In this regard, in addition to the expansion of the Takaful and Karama cash transfer program in 2023, they recently announced an additional EGP 180 billion social protection package for FY2024/25. The authorities also indicated that they would continue to provide support to ensure adequate living conditions for low and middle-income households that have been hit particularly hard by rising prices.

“Finally, the implementation of the State Ownership Policy and reforms to level the playing field will be key to unleash private sector growth. In this context, recent reforms eliminating preferential tax treatment and exemptions for state-owned enterprises are a step in the right direction. The accelerated pace of FDIs and divestiture programs since mid-2023 is a positive development that should contribute to improved confidence by markets and investors.

“Egypt’s international and regional partners will play a critical role in facilitating the implementation of the authorities’ policies and reforms. In this context, the recent investment deal in Ras ElHekma alleviates the near-term financing pressures.

“The IMF team would like to thank the authorities for the constructive dialogue, warm hospitality and strong cooperation to finalize the reform package in support of the completion of the first and second reviews under the EFF arrangement. A Board meeting is expected before the end of March”.

IMF Communications Department

PRESS OFFICER: Angham Al Shami

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