Egypt's budget deficit increased to 7.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product to reach EGP 223 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year 2015/16, according to the finance ministry’s March bulletin released on Thursday.
The budget deficit was 7.7 percent in the same period a year earlier, amounting to EGP 186 billion.
In February, then-minister of finance Hany Kadry told Bloomberg that the government revised the budget deficit target up to a range of 11 to 11.5 percent, up from the initial target of 8.9 percent.
Expenditures increased to EGP 466.2 billion (16.5 percent of GDP) in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, up from EGP 385.2 billion (15.9 percent of GDP) in the same period a year prior.
The rise in expenditures was driven mainly by a hike on interest payments by 44.7 percent to EGP 153.2 billion, up from EGP 105.9 billion.
However, wages still saw the slowest growth for this period in the last three months, according to the bulletin. Wages and compensation for employees increased by 7.7 percent to almost EGP 135 billion, up from around EGP 125 billion.
The government expenditure on subsidies, grants and social benefits grew 24.2 percent to EGP 97 billion, up from EGP 78 billion.
Total revenues, on the other hand, increased by 21.7 percent to EGP 253.2 billion, up from EGP 208 billion.