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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Egypt begins implementing debt reduction strategy

The Finance Ministry has begun implementing its comprehensive debt reduction strategy, which aims to reduce debt to 80% of GDP by 2022, according to a ministry statement. During a meeting with a delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), headed by first vice president Jurgen Rigterink, ministry officials reiterated the government’s plans to prolong debt maturities, outlined targets for growth and deficits, and recapped status of the state privatization program, which kicked off earlier this month with Eastern Tobacco’s secondary offering.

(An aside worth noting: The EBRD is looking to invest more in Egypt this year after having provided EUR 1.2 bn-worth of financing for about 50 projects in 2018, Rigterink said, according to a ministry statement.)

EXCLUSIVE- Egypt will issue 10- and 30-year bonds to cover interest due on 3- and 9-month treasury bills in the fiscal year starting in July, a senior government official told Enterprise. The mechanism is part of the government’s bid to reduce pressure on the budget, he said. “We have spoken to our international partners and found very high interest from foreign investors, domestically and internationally, in long-term securities,” the source said, adding that the government is now targeting a budget deficit of 7% and GDP growth of 6.1% for the coming fiscal year.

Background: The ministry has been drafting the strategy since last year. An initial draft of the FY2019-20 state budget that Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had presented to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in January set a revised debt target of 80-85% of GDP by the end of FY2021-22. Previously-issued guidelines for FY2019-20 had set a public debt target of 79.3% of GDP for that fiscal year.

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