Yet more delays for crucial IMF-Egypt deal?
Egypt denied on Monday that a $4.8 billion loan requested from the International Monetary Fund would be put to a yet-to-be-elected parliament for approval, a move that could have delayed the dispersal of funds.
Any hold-up could shake the confidence of investors who have been cheered by Egypt's progress with seeking the loan, needed to plug holes in the country's budget and balance of payments.
Alaa El Hadidi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, said that in the absence of a parliament - the chamber was dissolved in June - President Mohamed Morsi had legislative powers and could approve any agreement.
"In accordance with the constitutional declaration, any international agreement needs to be approved by the legislative authority, and in the absence of parliament, President Mohamed Morsi is empowered to take such decisions," he told Reuters.
Similarly, Hatem Saleh, minister of Industry and International trade also confirmed on Monday that Egypt will go ahead with the loan agreement despite the absence of an elected legislative body.
"The constitutional declaration solves this problem for Egypt," he said on Monday during an investment conference hosted by Beltone Financial in Cairo.
Earlier, Egyptian state TV carried a report quoting Qandil as saying the IMF deal would be put to parliament. With parliamentary elections potentially several months away, that could push back the release of funds
"Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said that the loan to be agreed upon with the IMF of $4.8 billion will be presented in Egypt's new parliament before it is passed," an anchorwoman said during the state news broadcast.
The International Monetary Fund said on 19 September it will send a mission to Egypt in coming weeks to discuss possible financial help once the government has finalized its economic program, and hopes to conclude the loan talks by year end.
Elections to the Egyptian parliament are due to take place following the completion of a new constitution, which must first be approved in a referendum.