By Doaa Farid
Egypt has reduced its delegation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting this year in protest of unfair treatment by the international body, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said Friday.
Fund officials had recently voted against discussing assistance for Egypt in their annual meetings set for 10-12 October in Washington, a senior official source told Alborsa newspaper on Tuesday.
The official source, who requested to remain anonymous, said that IMF had delayed calling the Egyptian government to attend the annual meeting until 5 October, and the invitation did not include meetings between the Egyptian delegation and IMF officials “as it is planned every year”.
The Egyptian delegation to IMF and World Bank’s annual meeting this year has been reduced to only diplomatic staff, which would include the Egyptian ambassador to Washington but not Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Ziad Bahaa El-Din, and Central Bank of Egypt governor Hisham Ramez.
Fakhry El-Fekky, former assistant of the executive chairman of IMF, decried the government decision. “It was a good chance for Egypt to attend this important annual meeting to clarify the situation to IMF and stop the false information spread about Egypt,” he said. “The IMF agreement with Egypt doesn’t include anything preventing it from inviting Egypt to the annual meeting.”
El-Fekky added that reducing the delegation may be seen as a sign that Egypt “is taking a stance” against the IMF.
El-Beblawi added in his telephone call on CBC that this year had seen a number of talks over Egypt’s membership in the IMF, with negotiations ongoing over IMF recognition of the current government.
“Egypt has a right to access this fund like any other country, and [the fund] has a duty to help,” El-Beblawi said, adding that Egypt is among the IMF’s founding member countries.
Two years of negotiations between Egypt and IMF over a $4.8bn loan had stalled out following the 3 July ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. The IMF announced earlier in September that they are committed to helping the Egyptian people to deal with their economic and financial challenges.
On 16 September, Bahaa El-Din said that Egypt is not in urgent need of the IMF loan, adding that the government possessed enough resources to successfully implement its economic programme.