Egypt's government expects to seal a loan from the International Monetary Fund by May 15, allowing the money to be disbursed before a new president is sworn in at the end of June, the country's Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Saeed said on Thursday.
"We expect to get approval of the IMF loan before May 15," Saeed told reporters in Cairo. "God willing, we will take the loan before a president for Egypt is in place."
Egypt has sought a $3.2 billion IMF financing arrangement to ease strains on an economy laid low by the turmoil that followed last year's overthrow of leader Hosni Mubarak.
The IMF has said any deal needs the backing of Egyptian political forces but the powerful Muslim Brotherhood has said it would not back the loan unless the army-backed interim government speeds the creation of a new administration to oversee how the funds are used.
The Brotherhood's candidate for president told Reuters on Sunday that either the terms of the loan must be changed or a new government formed first - something not due to take place until after the presidential elections are completed in June.
The delay in the IMF deal, which the government had hoped to secure in March, brings closer the prospect of a fully fledged fiscal crisis that would mean a jump in consumer prices and interest rates, a sharp devaluation and huge pressure on banks.