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London-based consultancy Executive Analysis puts Egypt’s accumulated debt to oil and gas producers at $9 billion. As a result, several foreign energy producers have cut production in Egypt or are refusing to invest in raising output or to issue letters of credit, industry sources said.
Senior liberal opposition politician Amr Moussa, a former Arab League chief, called for the government and opposition to agree to postpone parliamentary elections expected in April for six months and work together on the economy.
Citing the falling currency reserves and stumbling IMF talks, Moussa called in a statement for an urgent “reordering of priorities to mobilise all capacities to confront the present serious situation”.
He suggested that President Mohamed Mursi’s government and the opposition, made up of liberal, social democratic, leftist and Salafi parties, agree on a four-point initiative to restore public finances, reschedule the energy debt, revive tourism and investment and shield the poor from extra burdens.
Moussa said Egypt needed a $12 billion credit line, with money from the IMF, World Bank, United States, European Union and other friendly states, listing Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia.
He suggested the energy debt should be handled by negotiating a rescheduling of Egypt’s arrears so it could resume exports and stop importing expensive oil and gas.
There was no immediate response from the government to his call, which political sources said was expected to be endorsed by several other opposition leaders in the coming days.