(MENAFN) Egyptian Planning and International Cooperation Minister Ashraf al-Araby said that the government has initially agreed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a USD4.8 billion loan, Reuters reported.
The preliminary agreement is considered a vital step for shoring up cash-strapped Egypt and rebuilding the confidence of investors, who have been looking to the IMF to give its seal of approval to the government's economic programme.
Egypt has outlined some measures already to cut back on fuel subsidies, a big drain on state coffers, and to raise revenues.
The steps include ensuring subsidised cooking gas cylinders reach the most needy, ending subsidies on 95-octane gasoline and hiking the sales tax that now stands at 10 percent.
Officials from IMF's visiting team to Cairo said that the deal would be put on the IMF board's table to be finalised on December 19, adding that the first tranche of the loan to be released immediately after the approval.
One IMF official said the loan would be disbursed over 22 months.
The head of the IMF delegation, Andreas Bauer, said the loan would have an interest rate of 1.06 percent, adding that there were also fees attached.