Egypt's Sisi orders stronger financial measures to tackle coronavirus repercussions

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Nov 2020

President El-Sisi called for ensuring the stability of the state's financial policies while handling the pandemic

Egypt's President during the meeting (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian presidency)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has called for continuing to strengthen the state's financial measures to cope with the coronavirus’ economic repercussions, according to presidency spokesman Bassam Rady.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, President El-Sisi called for ensuring the stability of the state's financial policies while handling the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Egypt earmarked, alongside other supportive economic measures, an EGP 100 billion ($6 billion) financial package for fighting the outbreak.

By June, the country had spent EGP 65 billion (approximately $4 billion) of the package, according to Maait's interview with privately-owned satellite TV channel ON last week.

As the country heads into winter, a slight rise has been witnessed nationwide recently in the daily coronavirus infection toll.

This increases concerns about a second wave of the pandemic after months of a low infection rate.

Maait added during the TV interview that the president has called for allocating new funds to the country's current budget in preparation for a possible anticipated second wave.

He revealed that Egypt's budget lost EGP 220 billion (approx.$14 billion) in revenues in the fourth quarter of the 2019/2020 fiscal year due to the pandemic, while assuring that the country's economy is up for dealing with this possible second wave of the virus.

Since the outbreak began in mid-February, Egypt reported a total of 110,767 coronavirus infections and 6,453 deaths, with 220 new cases and 11 fatalities recorded on Sunday.

Monday’s meeting addressed the economic and financial performance indicators during the first quarter of the fiscal year 2020/2021, according to the presidential spokesman.

The first quarter witnessed a primary surplus of EGP 200 million, despite the negative repercussions of the pandemic, the finance minister said at the meeting.

He highlighted the 16 percent rise in revenues and the 7 percent decline in expenditures the country saw during the first three months of the current fiscal year.

The presidential spokesman added that the meeting touched upon Egypt's efforts to upgrade and automate the Egyptian customs system to ensure faster and better service for customers.

Maait said the efforts resulted in reducing the time of releasing shipments and customs clearance at all Egyptian ports from an average of 6.5 days in January 2020 to an average of 5.2 days in November 2020.

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