Morsi shakes up finance ministry


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The Independent Online

Ten new Egyptian ministers were sworn in today in a shake-up aimed at improving the government’s handling of the ailing economy ahead of talks this week with the International Monetary Fund over a badly needed $4.8bn (£3bn) loan.

The reshuffle of the interior and finance ministries, which President Mohamed Morsi had promised in response to public anger about the economic malaise, put three portfolios in the hands of members of his Muslim Brotherhood.

It came as central bank figures put Egypt’s foreign currency reserves at $15.01bn in December, down $26m from a month earlier. Reserves have dropped by more than half since the uprising of February 2011.

The central bank said last month that current reserve levels represent a "critical minimum."

Morsi met with the new ministers after their swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo where they discussed ways to revive tourism and attract foreign investors, a presidential official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, meanwhile, said he stressed in his first meeting with the new ministers the need for immediate action to stabilize the economy.