Egypt forms committee to restrict foreign borrowing ‘to very narrow limits:’ Finance minister to parliament

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 19 Apr 2022

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait revealed Tuesday that the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has formed an ad hoc committee "to study the file of foreign borrowing and restrict it to very narrow limits."


Maait indicated that the committee is headed by Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said.

Maait's statement came in response to MPs who voiced concern over what they called "the alarming increase in Egypt's foreign debts," during a plenary session held by the House of Representatives. They also lambasted the fact that "a lot of foreign borrowed money was not used efficiently and that the government was not able in many cases to make an optimal use of many of the loans and grants it has obtained in recent years."

The MP’s concerns came while the House was debating the balance sheet of the state's 2020/2021. MP Khaled Badawi deplored the fact that 51 percent of the 2020/21 budget's allocations went to paying back and servicing debts.

The finance minister said the government has been doing its best to rationalise spending and increase revenues so as not to resort to foreign borrowing. Maait revealed that the government was not able to collect EGP 465.9 billion in debts owed to it in fiscal year 2020/21. "Most of these debts take the form of tax and custom arrears," said Maait.

Fakhri El-Fiqi, chairman of the House's Budget Committee, said Egypt suffers from a financial gap of EGP 470 billion, and that Egypt's foreign debts are still within safe limits and that Egypt has the ability to pay its debt servicing commitments.

MPs gave a final approval Tuesday of the balance sheet of the state's 2021/22 budget.

The House Speaker Hanafy El-Gebaly said parliament's next plenary sessions will be held on 8 May.

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