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Details of Egypt's 2012/13 state budget remain vague: Official

The particulars of next year's state budget – released this week by the local media – 'lack accuracy and will be modified,' finance ministry source asserts

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 May 2012
Egyptian parliament
A general view for Egyptian parliament session (Photo: Reuters)
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Given Egypt's current state of political ambiguity and uncertainty, details of the state's 2012/2013 budget remain a mystery. According to a finance ministry source, figures recently reported by the media lack accuracy and will be subject to modification.

Flagship state daily Al-Ahram reported on Thursday that Egypt's Cabinet approved on Wednesday the new state budget, before referring it to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The paper went on to report that total expenditures for the coming fiscal year beginning on 1 July stood at LE533.7 billion. Total revenue, meanwhile, stand at LE393.4 billion, indicating an LE140.3-billion deficit, according to figures published by Al-Ahram.

But the finance ministry source told Ahram Online, "We haven’t seen these figures and they can’t be trusted."

Nevertheless, the proposed budget has already been referred to interim prime minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, who reportedly forwarded it on to Egypt's planning and international cooperation ministry.

A planning ministry source, however, told Ahram Online: "These figures will be modified and won’t be made public before next week."

So far, no official documents confirming these figures have been released or given to journalists.

The authority of Planning Minister Faiza Abul-Naga, one of only two ministers to retain their posts from the Mubarak era, has reportedly been bolstered under the tutelage of the ruling SCAF, according to former ministers in Egypt's post-revolution government.

The draft budget will most likely not be debated in parliament before the end of this month, in light of a recent decision by Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni to suspend parliamentary activity until 26 May, two days after Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential polls.

Egyptian law stipulates, however, that Egypt's executive authority must refer the draft budget to parliament 90 days before the start of the financial year, meaning that it should have been delivered to lawmakers for review by 1 April.

Parliament is now reportedly awaiting the SCAF's approval of the proposed budget.

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