• 06-APR-2017

  • SOURCE: IMF

IMF Bi-Weekly Briefing

The IMF is offering support to Egypt to help bring down inflation and protect the country's "poorest and most vulnerable citizens, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday in Washington.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde held a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi Wednesday night in Washington.

After the event she expressed confidence that Egypt is making progress on addressing economic reform, and that the IMF stands ready to support steps to tackle persistent high inflation there.

"The managing director referred to the issue of inflation, one of the challenges that the Egyptian government and people are faceing," said Rice.

"We will be discussing with the government and the Central Bank, how they can best use budget restraint and tighter monetary policy to contain demand, and so, bring down inflation. So, that is a priority in the period of ahead," Rice added.

The IMF is also continuing talks aimed at debt-relief for Greece, but there is no firm time-frame for conclusion, Rice said.

IMF Managing Director Lagarde reiterated that there are "two legs" to any program pairing debt-relief to economic reforms on the Greek side.

When asked about sequencing of the two Rice said, "the timeline broadly, the framework, is that there will be discussion of the reforms and that's ongoing. Then once we know exactly what the reforms are, then the level of debt relief is, obviously, matching," Rice said.

"You know, it's a complementary to that. And what I have said before just in terms of guidance is that for the IMF to take a proposal to our executive board for support of a program in Greece, it would need to have both of those components, both legs," Rice told reporters.

Rice noted that the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzogovina failed this week to adopt important reforms of the excise tax and deposit insurance.

"This decision will have negative implications for Bosnia and its economy. And indeed, that's why both reforms are key elements of the authorities' program, which is supported by the IMF," Rice said, quoting from a statement by the IMF Mission Chief for Bosnia.

Rice added that there will now be a "significant delay" in completion of the first review of Bosnia's Fund program, but that it remains in place and the IMF urges continued implementation of needed reforms.