Egypt Islamists want more details on IMF loan

2012-03-20 18:25

Cairo - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest political force, on Tuesday held off from backing a request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, urging more government transparency.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said it met with an IMF delegation in Cairo to discuss the loan which is aimed at relieving Egypt's economy, in crisis since a popular uprising last year.

The FJP "does not have any reservations against dealing with the IMF or any other international institution where Egypt is a member", its head Mohammed Mursi said in a statement.

The party "would certainly accept any help from these institutions in any way that would serve public interests", he said.

However, the Islamist party, which dominates parliament, said the government "has not yet submitted a plan of economic measures relating to the loan" and did not say "how this loan will be used, or how it will be paid off."

"The loan will be a burden on the shoulders of Egyptian people, who have the right to know how it will be spent and how it will be paid off," Mursi said.

The IMF is seeking assurances from the Muslim Brotherhood that it would back the loan, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Egypt had spurned an IMF loan last year but has since changed its mind amid a stalling economy.

Egypt's foreign currency reserves have fallen while the budget deficit increased due to public spending.

As well as the IMF loan, Egypt has sought $1bn from the World Bank and $500m from the African Development Bank.