Egypt has attained a primary surplus of EGP 5.2 billion, while health spending increased by up to 6 percent during the first quarter of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, financial officials said at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
During a cabinet meeting held earlier today, Finance Minister Maait said the country has attained a primary surplus of EGP 5.2 billion (around $330 million), accounting for 0.1 percent of GDP, down from EGP 14.7 billion (around $930 million), or 0.3 percent of GDP, achieved during the same period the previous year.
The meeting, which was headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, brought together the Egyptian economic group ministers to review the financial performance during the four months of the current fiscal year 2020/2021.
The group included Planning and Economic Development Minister Hala El-Said, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat, and Trade and Industry Minister Niven Gamea, in addition to Governor of the Egyptian Central Bank Tarek Amer.
The overall deficit recorded EGP 171 billion (around $10.86 billion), 2.6 percent of GDP, down from an overall deficit of EGP 180 billion (around $11.43 billion), 3.1 percent of the GDP, during the same period last year, Maait noted.
He added that the country has continued to achieve "balanced" financial indices in spite of the negative repercussions of the pandemic in the local and international markets.
During the meeting, Ahmed Kajok, the deputy finance minister, said the expenditure of the health sector increased by 6 percent to cope with the coronavirus and other health-related needs.
He added that the 6 percent increase financed the allocations of the state-funded medical treatment and health insurance, as well as other health items stipulated in the country's budget, including the 100 Million Heath Initiative.
Kajok added that the annual growth rate rose by nearly 15.5 percent during the four months, attaining up to EGP 287 billion (approximately $18.23 billion), compared to about EGP 249 billion (approx. $15.82 billion) during the same period last year.
Allocation for wages increased by some 8.2 percent, compared to the first quarter of FY 2019-2020, while the purchase of commodities and services decreased by about 20 percent, in light of the country's plan to rationalise expenditures, he pointed out.