Egypt pledges 6% budget deficit, 1.6% initial surplus to IMF in lead-up to new loan: Finance minister

Doaa A.Moneim , Monday 29 Aug 2022

Egypt has pledged to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to attain the overall budget deficit at six percent of GDP and to raise the initial surplus by 1.6 percent in FY 2022/2023, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said on Monday.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maiit at the presser. Photo: Ahram Online


Maait made his statements during a press conference held at the finance ministry’s headquarters in Cairo to present the performance indices of FY 2021/2022, which ended on 30 June 2022.

Maait also demonstrated the budget’s objectives through FY 2026/27.

In FY 2021/22, Egypt’s overall budget deficit decreased to 6.1 percent of the GDP, equivalent to EGP 485 billion, down from 6.8 percent, or EGP 472 billion in FY 2020/2021, according to Maait.

Meanwhile, the initial surplus in FY 2021/22 jumped to EGP 100 billion (1.3 percent of GDP), compared to EGP 93.3 billion in FY 2020/21, he added.

Maait asserted in an answer to Ahram Online question that the fund has not requested during the negotiations that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) cancel all recent low-interest rates initiatives as a condition to complete the deal. However, the finance minister added that the fund and the Egyptian authorities are discussing the management mechanism of these initiatives.

Maiit stressed that the IMF supports all the social protection programmes that Egypt adopts and has not asked the Egyptian authorities to reconsider their allocations, reiterating that there will be a deal soon.

Meanwhile, the deputy minister for financial policies, Ahmed Kojok, explained that the IMF conducted eight visits to Egypt for the anticipated deal, adding that the ongoing discussions centre on tax and custom policies as well as public spending, subsidies, and green economy.

Regarding the budget performance, Maait said that Egypt attained a real GDP growth of 6.2 percent in FY 2021/22, which is expected to moderate to 5.5 percent in FY 2022/23 and to five percent in FY 2023/24 owing to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Maait said that this rate is expected to jump to seven percent in FY 2025/26 and FY 2026/27.

The GDP is projected to record above EGP 9 trillion in FY 2022/23 and to continue to grow to hit EGP 16.3 trillion in FY 2026/27, he added.

“Egypt has managed to increase its GDP seven-folds since FY 2009/2010 to reach EGP 7.9 trillion in FY 2021/22, up from EGP 1.2 trillion,” Maait pointed out.

Regarding FY 2021/22 indices, Maait said that expenses rose by 14.8 percent in the past year to hit EGP 1.8 trillion, while budget revenues grew in FY 2021/22 by 18.7 percent to reach EGP 990 million.

Maait noted that the government adopts a plan to decrease the debt to GDP ratio to 71.9 percent in FY 2026/27, down from the current 87.2 percent.

Some “87 percent of Egypt’s overall debt is local debt, while the remaining 23 percent represents the external debt for international institutions, which tells that the debt is in safe zone. In addition, debt services represented nine percent of GDP over the past two years, but we have managed to reduce them to 7.4 percent in FY 2021/22,” Maait explained.

Meanwhile, Maait revealed that all the hot money, the indirect investments in the local debt instruments, have fled the local market since the onset of the war in Ukraine with a total of $22 billion.

Yet, Maait asserted, Egypt has met all its financial obligations, particularly the due debt and its services.

“From now on, Egypt will focus on advancing and supporting the industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors besides stimulating investments, particularly local ones, capitalising on the boom the infrastructure has witnessed over the past few years. The government is also considering a number of incentives for the private sector that will be announced soon,” Maait said.

The minister stated that the cabinet has greenlighted the issuance of sustainable bonds the revenues of which will be used to finance green and eco-friendly projects and bridge the gender gap in environmental work in Egypt.

“We target issuing other yen-dominated bonds in the Japanese market and are considering issuing panda bonds directed to the Chinese market to diversify investment and revenue resources. These issuance, besides an estimated $2 billion in sovereign sukuk, are delayed actions planned to be taken upon the recovery of global capital markets,” Maait said.

Energy subsidies, Maait explained, recorded EGP 29 billion, while the sector’s revenues hit over EGP 80 billion this fiscal year. He asserted that revenues from the energy sector have supported the budget significantly amid the ongoing crisis.

Revenues of FY 2022/23 grew by 19.6 percent. A total of EGP 990 billion were collected as tax reveneues, according to the minister.

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