Follow the latest news and economic developments about the Arab transition countries. 

A delegation from the IMF will visit Egypt during the first week of January in order to resume talks on the VAT draft law, said a statement from Ministry of Finance on Sunday. An official source at the ministry was quoted in the statement as saying that the draft VAT Bill will be ready on 24 January; it will be discussed internally before being subject to public discussion. The implementation of the VAT is expected to increase tax revenues to EGP 130 billion per year, announced Head of the Tax Authority Mamdouh Omar earlier in November. However, its application will require a considerable amount of time, said Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal in December. [DNE]
Egypt has made a partial payment on the money it owes to international energy firms in a bid to revive confidence in its flagging hydrocarbon sector. Egypt has an energy debt of around $6.4 billion. It has been paying hefty premiums for its crude supplies due to the weak Egyptian pound and dwindling foreign currency reserves. It has also been facing a slowdown in oil and gas exploration activities. “Some companies already received last week some payments as part of a $1.5 billion deal we agreed to pay before the end of this year,” according to an Egyptian oil official. [WSJ]
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with a leading private training company to help strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of young Moroccans, part of a wider effort to support smaller businesses and drive economic development. IFC and Attitudes Conseil will train selected trainers to deliver interactive sessions based on IFC’s Business Edge methodology. [IFC]
Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly adopted a complementary finance law for 2013 on Sunday, serving to rectify the initial finance law due to “the pressure of the transitory period and the world economic situation,” according to government statements. The modifications in the law include an increase in state budget, support for ailing public banks, and a recommendation for the implementation of a tax on nights stayed in tourist hotels beginning October 2014. [TAP]
Also of Interest:
UAE FM reiterates commitment to support Egypt | KUNA
Balance of payments jump to $3.7 billion | DNE
Japan to give Egypt $16 million in new aid | African Manager
Egypt imposes stamp tax on cigarettes, price unchanged | Ahram
Tailors deal dollars as Egypt battles currency drought | Bloomberg
African Development Bank supports Egypt with $2 million | DNE
Egyptian Minister of Finance allots additional fund for different sectors | DNE
Egypt electricity minister: No power cuts in 2014 thanks to Saudi Arabia | Egypt Independent
Opinion: The story behind Jordan’s “private-public sector” partnerships | Al- Bawaba 
Qatamin signs MOU to boost employment and labor productivity | JNA
Libyan production down to 230,000 barrels a days | ANSAmed
EIB to fund gas exploration project in Tunisian south | TAP