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Egypt PM eyes growth, finalises economy plan

Hisham Qandil predicts robust growth while hinting at a new package of reforms including cuts in consumer subsidies

Ahram Online and Reuters, Sunday 9 Sep 2012
Hesham Qandil
Egypt's new prime minister Hesham Qandil (Photo: AP)
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Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has said he expects the Egyptian economy to grow by 3-4 per cent in the 2012/13 financial year, potentially hitting the government target of 4-4.5 per cent if goals for public and private investment flows are met.

Speaking to Reuters on Sunday, Qandil said that his government aims to cut the budget deficit, now running at about 8 per cent of gross domestic product, by 1 per cent in two years. The government also seeks to bring growth to 7 per cent in the next four years, he added.
 
Qandil also said his government was finalising a package of economic reforms to boost tax revenue and cut consumer subsidies and that he would present a draft to the president next week.
 
The government plans to direct energy subsidies more effectively, Qandil said, issuing coupons or smart cards to the poor for butane cooking gas by mid-October and cutting subsidies on 95-Octane gasoline in the coming months.
 
"We want to increase our revenue. To do so we need to look at our taxation system so it covers more people, not necessarily that we tax more. But it would be better to tax more people," he said. 
 
"We'll try to get them into the formal economy, and we will do that very soon." 
 
In April, the International Monetary Fund predicted that Egypt's growth would slow to 1.5 per cent in 2012, but said 3.3 per cent growth was possible the following calendar year.
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