* Minister says crisis may cut 1.7 points from growth
* Hopes state, private sector will finance package
* U.S. says prepared to help Egypt
(Adds quotes, details)
By Patrick Werr
CAIRO, Feb 22 Egypt is planning a stimulus
package after its economy was badly hurt by political turmoil,
Finance Minister Samir Radwan said on Tuesday.
He estimated that the political unrest that led to the
ousting of President Hosni Mubarak would reduce growth to 4.3
percent in the financial year to end-June from the government's
previous forecast of 6 percent.
Egypt's economy has been hurt by a collapse in tourism and
foreign investment since protests erupted on Jan. 25. Banks,
businesses and factories have only reopened in the last few
days, and the stock exchange remains closed indefinitely.
"The goal of the stimulus package is to get the economy on
its feet again," Radwan told reporters after meeting U.S.
Undersecretary of State William J. Burns.
Radwan said the Finance Ministry was still working on the
stimulus package and did not know how big it would be, but he
hoped it would be financed both on-budget by the government and
off-budget by the private sector.
"The whole issue of fiscal space is becoming a bit tighter
because of the emergency measures we have taken in the past
three weeks," he said. "Therefore we have to draw on the private
Radwan said that Egypt wanted to draw on help from "our
Last week Radwan estimated that the government's budget
deficit would rise as high as 8.4 percent of gross domestic
product this financial year compared to a forecast made before
the crisis of 7.9 percent.
He said he reassured Burns that Egypt would not retreat from
economic reform or change the basic economic philosophy it has
followed since it adopted a liberal reform programme in 2004.
Burns told reporters that the United States was prepared to
"We want to do everything we can to be supportive, and that
includes providing support for economic recovery as well as for
Egypt's economic modernisation," Burns said. "There is a range
in which we can be helpful."
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)