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Thursday, 16 March 2017

House Legislative Committee approves IMF loan

The House Legislative Committee approved yesterday Egypt’s USD 12 bn loan agreement with the IMF and has referred it to the Economics Committee for further review. The agreement will then be put to a vote in a plenary session, Al Mal reports. The committee’s approval came despite a vocal minority that resisted the move at a meeting with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy yesterday. Several of the dissident MPs took to the media, denouncing the agreement, Ahram Gate reports.

From a constitutional standpoint, House approval of the IMF facility nullifies the need for a referendum on the agreement, said House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, who attended the meeting, according to the newspaper. He then stressed that foreign treaties and agreements are the purview of the executive branch of government, which makes us wonder: Why, then, would it have ever needed House approval, let alone a referendum?

This comes as the IMF team due in Cairo to review progress on the reform agenda has postponed its visit to Egypt to 8 May from 28 April, El Garhy reportedly said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The assessment is a condition for disbursing the second USD 1.25 bn tranche of the USD 12 bn IMF extended fund facility. IMF Egypt mission chief Chris Jarvis hinted two weeks ago that the tranche is expected to be disbursed in June. Meanwhile, a World Bank delegation still looks set to arrive in in April to go over many of the same points.

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