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Egypt launches citizen's budget to improve transparency

Egypt issues citizen's budget to improve transparency for the first time in four years

Waad Ahmed , Wednesday 1 Oct 2014
Qadry
Egyptian Finance Minister Hani Qadri (Photo:Al-Ahram)
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Egypt launched a citizen's budget for the second time in its history according to finance minister, Hany Qadry, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday.

The document, a simplified version of the state's official budget, is meant to increase transparency and communication with citizens, said Qadry.

The last time the finance ministry issued a citizen's budget was in 2010.

Currently, Egypt's score, in the open budget index – as calculated by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), is a low 13 percent.

Following the decision in 2010, Egypt's budget score jumped to 49 percent, up from 19 percent in 2006, making it one of the most transparent budget systems in MENA, according to the IBP website.

Egypt failed to achieve higher than 49 percent at the time, as the government failed to produce pre-budget statements and citizens budgets for social dialogue, said the IBP.

In 2012, Egypt stopped publicly issuing the executive's budget proposal and the mid-year review, in the aftermath of its January 2011 revolution, says the IBP.

The amount of information available in published reports also decreased from 2010 to 2012 specifically in the year-end and monthly reports.

The year-end report for the 2013/2014 fiscal year, which ended on 30 June, has not yet been published.

"The next step will be issuing a pre-budget statement for social dialogue so that citizens can contribute to decision making," said Qadry.

The government will issue next year's pre-budget statement by the end of this calendar year, he added.

The minister assured that the citizen's budget will be available on the new website (www.budget.gov.eg) and distributed in public spaces such as universities, schools, and social clubs.

Egypt's current state budget was ratified by the president who now holds all legislative powers due to the absence of a parliament.

Following the uprising in 2011, the 2013/14 budget was the only one to be ratified by an elected house of representatives (Shura council) which substituted the parliament during the rule of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said parliamentary elections would take place by the end of this calender year.

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