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FJP MP says state budget lacks transparency

Many aspects should be clarified in the state budget to make it transparent; private funds are big part of the problem

Marwa Hussein, Saturday 3 Mar 2012
Egypt
The budget of private funds is not under the supervision of the parliament. (Photo:Reuters)
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Recent financial reports have cast light on lack of transparency in Egypt's budget, said Ashraf Badr El-Din, an MP of the Freedom and Justice Party and member of the Planning and Budget Committee at the People's Assembly.

"Many things should be clarified in the budget in order to make it transparent," he said, before adding, "first of all, the budgets of many bodies are each represented as one figure in the state budget. We need to modify many laws to change that [by breaking down each figure]."

Badr El-Din said the presidency, the Ministry of Defence, the cabinet, the Judges' Council and the parliament were among the governmental bodies that benefited from the mystery that surrounds the state budget. 

Moreover, he also pointed the finger at the Central Auditing Organization, which is in charge of supervising all public funds.

"The budget does not reflect at all the financial status of Egypt," Badr El-Din explains. "It only shows the elapsed financial years but not the installments Egypt should pay in the coming years."

This means the costs of the country's long-term projects do not appear in the budget, which leaves question marks over public investments and debts estimations.

The private funds are also not included in the budget. Private funds represent money raised by state institutions, usually through fees imposed on citizens. So far, their value is not accurately estimated.

In a recent declaration, Minister of Finance Momtaz El-Saied said at LE36.1 billion (roughly $6 billion) were raised from 4600 funds. 

The Central Auditing Organization, however, declared there are 6300 funds worth LE47.7 billion.

"The minister justified this irregularity by saying [during a parliamentary session] his estimations only include 80 per cent of the funds monies,” commented Ashraf Badr El-Din. 

"The parliament has the intention to ask the government to include the budget of these funds to the final account [the budget report issued by the end of the year]."

Private funds were first created in 1973 after a law was introduced to enable Egypt's president to create private funds with private resources and expenses.

Later, nonetheless, many bodies became entitled to private funds.

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