President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that Egyptian would “very soon” be able to purchase U.S. dollars at a unified rate, Reuters reported.
The gap between Egypt’s official and unofficial dollar rates hit its widest ever last week as the central bank’s official rate stood at EGP 8.78 to the dollar, while it reached EGP 13 on the black market.
The wide difference decreased after the cash-strapped government announced last week it was close to agreeing a lending programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that it’s seeking to secure a $12 billion loan with the IMF over three years to ease its funding gap.
“The next few days will see a lot of good news for the Egyptian people,” Sisi told youth participating in a leadership programme on Monday, as he announced that ‘tough measures’ need to applied to fix the country’s economy.
The president’s speech comes amid expectations that the IMF laid down a number of requirements, which include cut to energy subsidies and tax reforms, as preconditions for providing the loan to Egypt.
“The problem is whether public opinion is prepared to accept the measures which could be tough or harsh,” Sisi said.
“Egyptians love their country and are able to face hardship but they are too busy with their daily lives and thus must be afforded the correct information regarding the measures.”
An IMF mission, headed by Advisor at the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Christopher Jarvis, arrived in Cairo on Saturday for a two-week visit to discuss policies that can help Egypt meet its economic challenges.
Egypt has been scrambling to collect money as it faces a shortage in foreign currency due to pressures on its foreign reserves after years of political turmoil, triggered by the 2011 Uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, halved the country’s foreign reserves and scared away tourists and investors, two major sources of hard currency.
Credit: All Africa