By Doaa Farid
The finance ministry will be able to meet its foreign debt obligations on time, said Ahmed El-Kholy, the head of treasury sector in the Housing and Development Bank.
Al-Kholy qualified, however, that if the government fails to meet its debt obligation on time, Egypt will be viewed as a “bankrupt country” which will negatively impact its ability to negotiate for future loans.
On Monday, the advisor of the finance minister, Hamdy Samir,confirmed the ministry’s commitment to timely debt payment. Samir told Anadolu News Agency that foreign debts amount to $41bn, which is “still within safe limits” and being “well managed” by the ministry and the Central Bank of Egypt.
Samir said that $32.1bn of the debt ismedium and long term, to be paid by 2040.
Hesham Shawky, chairman of the investment sector in the National Investment Bank, meanwhile doubts the government’s ability tomeet its deadlines, adding that it should postpone them in advance in order to avoid being in an “embarrassing position.”Shawky added, however, that donations of businessmen can help the country pay its dues.
On Friday, Fitch downgraded Egypt’s issuer default ratings and country ceiling from B to B- on concerns over the country’s ability to repay its debts after nationwide protests on 30 June which resulted in the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt’s foreign debts increased $11bn from 2012 to 2013 under Morsi’s administration due to the addition of various international loans.