Egypt's overall deficit down by 7.8% despite coronavirus crisis: Finance minister

Ahram Online , Wednesday 29 Jul 2020

Egypt's Finance Minister Mohamed Maait (photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's overall deficit during the 2019/2020 fiscal year declined by 7.8 percent of the GDP, compared to 8.2 percent last year, according to initial estimations, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Wednesday at a cabinet press briefing held to discuss the initial estimations of the financial performance of the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

He attributed the decrease to the economic initiatives taken by the state.

Along with other assistance measures, Egypt has allocated an economic package worth EGP 100 billion to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Maait added that Egypt's GDP is expected to decrease by EGP 202 billion.

He noted that the Egyptian economy's growth rate has reached 3.8 percent, compared to 6 percent in previous estimations, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Egypt is among the few countries around the world that have managed to achieve a positive real growth rate during 2020, and its growth rate is considered the world's highest,” he added.

He stressed that Egypt has maintained the estimates and rankings of all international rating institutions, despite the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic.

Despite the current circumstances, the country has attained "a very good" primary surplus accounting for 1.8 percent of the GDP, only 0.2 lower than the targeted figure, the minister said.

The overall budget's revenues during the 2019/2020 fiscal year recorded an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year, in the light of the rise in the surplus of economic bodies and public business sector companies, as well as the profits of the public banks transferred to the treasury.

He assured that the oil sector has transformed to a positive and influential contributor to the public budget for the first time in years.

He praised the measures adopted by the government to address the consequences of the pandemic, which have driven a strong return by investors since mid-June.

Egypt has moved towards a gradual reopening of its economy since June as part of a plan to “coexist with the virus.”

During the same press conference, Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the country may reinstate strict lockdown measures if infections rise once more.

Egypt has been recording less than 1,000 coronavirus cases per day since 9 July.

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