“Eye on Debt III”, Egypt’s government has executed 4 measures out of 14 during the third review period, all of which are hampering social and economic justice

Press Release

21 October 2018

In parallel to the fourth review visit started Monday, October 22nd, The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights today releases “Eye on Debt III,” the third in a series of shadow reports on visits by a team of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assess the performance of the Egyptian government during the third review period from December 2017 to April 2018.

Offering in-depth examinations of selected topics related to Egypt’s IMF loan package, this report presents an analysis of the realities of economic growth and risks, highlighting the inconsistency between government monetary and fiscal policy, questioning measures the IMF has demanded from the government and assessing their social and economic impact, and monitoring measures implemented by the government.

“Eye on Debt III” found that in the third review period, the Egyptian government was obligated to move ahead with 14 measures, only two of which had a beneficial socioeconomic impact. Eight of the measures—including the continued application of contractionary monetary policy and budget tightening through inequitable fiscal policy—were judged to have a broadly adverse impact on citizens and economic development. The government implemented only 4 of the required 14 measures, all of which had a negative socioeconomic impact.

The IMF wholly disregarded its demand for transparency from the government. The first and second “Eye on Debt” reports revealed that in the previous two review periods the Egyptian government had not complied with three of the loan program’s terms requiring disclosure and transparency.

This, the third report, also finds that the government continues to disregard these measures, and the third report released by IMF experts contained no mention of the government’s failure to carry out these measures.

The IMF continues to treat risks as potentialities, rather than as concrete fact. Investors in Egypt’s public debt—“hot money” movers—have already begun to pull out of Egypt, making it increasingly difficult for Egypt to borrow in dollars through local and foreign bonds and increasing the likelihood of a further devaluation of the Egyptian pound. The IMF is offering no proposals to deal with this global crisis, save for advising Egypt to let the pound depreciate.

The report also notes the Egyptian government’s failure to achieve inclusive, sustainable growth capable of creating jobs. Despite the marked improvement in growth rates and several macroeconomic indicators, the growth is unhealthy and could be temporary. It has also had no impact on indicators that reflect better living conditions for Egyptians, such as creating decent jobs and spending on public services, education, and health.

This is the third of a series of reports marking each visit by IMF experts. The IMF visits, which take place every six months, assess the performance of the Egyptian government and determine the disbursement of the next tranche of the loan.

With the completion of the third review, Egypt received an additional $2.02 billion, bringing total funds disbursed of the $12-billion loan to $8.06 billion, although the Egyptian government has not followed through on most demands in this or the previous review periods.

The EIPR reiterates its reservations on most of the IMF loan terms, which have adverse socioeconomic impacts on most citizens and are damaging to the economy and social stability.