Egypt budget deficit surges to 7.9% in first eight months of FY2015-16

Egypt’s budget deficit was valued at 223 billion Egyptian pounds (US$25.12 billion) during the first eight months of the 2015/2016 financial year compared to 186 billion pounds during the same period of time last year, ministry of finance said Thursday.

The ministry said in its monthly report that the state’s budget deficit makes up 7.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to 7.7 percent of GDP during the same period last year.

The rise in the deficit comes amid a general rise in expenses that reached 21 per cent with a value of 466.2 billion pounds and a corresponding rise in revenues by 21.7 percent reaching a value of 253.2 billion pounds.

Servicing the debt assumed the bulk of the increase in expenses, as it increased by 44.7 percent, compared to the same time last year, to reach 153.2 billion pounds.

Wages, on the other hand, recorded “the lowest increase over the past three years in light of attempts to control the wage bill,” the ministry of finance stated.

Spending on subsides increased by 24.2 percent to reach a value of 97 billion pounds as a result of increased spending on consumer goods, electricity and pension funds.

Regarding revenues, the ministry of finance said the increase was partly due to a rise in tax revenues by 22.1 percent to reach 182.8 billion pounds from July to February of the current fiscal year, while the non-tax revenues increased by 20.6 percent.

The government expects the budget deficit for the financial year 2015/2016 to be between 11-11.5 percent, while it targets to reduce the deficit to 9.9 percent in the upcoming fiscal year.

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has already approved the 2016/2017 draft budget in March and sent it to parliament for approval, Reuters reported.

Source: Aswat Masriya