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Iran Press TV

Egypt seeks aid from IMF amid virus-induced economic downturn

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 26 April 2020 6:09 PM

Egypt plans to start discussions 'within days' with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an aid package to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a televised press conference with the Central Bank governor and other Ministers, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said on Sunday that the government had made the decision because the virus was pushing the economy into hardship.

"No one knows when this crisis will end so we wanted to take some measures that would build on the economy's gains, especially after the complete shutdown of the aviation and tourism sectors," Madbouli said.

The premier, however, did not specify the size of the one-year financial aid package Cairo was seeking alongside technical assistance.

Since the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian economy has sustained multiple shocks caused by political instability and security issues.

The government has imposed harsh austerity measures in recent years to try to reduce its deficit.

The impact of economic reforms has been hardest on the poor, in a country where one in three lives below the poverty line.

Egypt previously signed a $12-billion aid package with the Washington-based fund in 2016, with the last tranche paid out last year.

The country recently reduced curfew hours and loosened its lockdown restrictions with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, allowing shops and malls to trade on weekends.

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