Egypt's Senate Headquarter. Al-Ahram
Egypt's Senate, the consultative upper house of parliament, will meet on Sunday and Monday to discuss a report prepared by its Financial and Economic Committee on the state's 2021/22 socio-economic development plan.
Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said is expected at the debate to answer questions and give comments.
At a meeting with the Senate’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee that took place two weeks ago, El-Said said the new development plan targets EGP 1.3 trillion in overall investments, of which EGP 358 billion is to be spent on 12,000 projects throughout Egypt.
The Senate's Financial and Economic Committee's report clarified that most of the investment projects in the government's 2021/22 development plan will focus on both the education and healthcare sectors.
“The new socio-economic development plan's investments in the health sector alone will reach EGP 47.5 billion in 2021-22 in order to help the state and medical institutions contain the COVID-19 crisis,” the report read.
The report also indicated that the volume of investment earmarked for the education sector in the new development plan is estimated at EGP 56 billion.
“These investments will focus on building more schools, raising the quality of education and improving teaching methods,” the report said, adding that "the investments in the health and education sectors also aim to establish universities in most governorates as well as mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on socio-economic conditions of poor citizens."
Minister El-Said also said that the new development plan aims to raise the economic growth rate to 5.4 percent in 2021/22, up from the 2.6 percent in the current fiscal year.
"The COVID-19 crisis had led economic growth in Egypt to drop from 3.6 percent in 2019-20 to 2.8 percent in 2020-21, but we hope that we will be able to bounce back to the pre-COVID-19 level of 2018/19, achieving an economic growth rate of 5.4 per cent in fiscal year 2021/22,” El-Said added.
She also said that the above figures were in line with estimates made by international lending institutions. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts an economic growth rate of 5.5 percent in Egypt in 2021-22, up from 2.8 percent in the current fiscal year, the World Bank expects a rate of 5.8 percent.
Fitch Ratings, an international ratings agency, and UK magazine the Economist put economic growth in Egypt next year at six percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.
“All of these estimates are close to each other and they all say that Egypt will be able to ride out the damaging effects of the COVID-19 crisis to a large extent and achieve reasonable positive economic growth,” El-Said said.
The spike in economic growth, according to the minister, is expected to be boosted by a number of factors.
“We expect remittances from Egyptian workers abroad to grow by seven percent or from $28 billion in the current fiscal year to $30 billion in the new 2021-22 year, not to mention the fact that the tourism sector will begin recuperating to generate $6 billion in 2021-22, up from an expected $3 billion this year,” El-Said said.
She also added that “Suez Canal transit fees are also expected to reach US$6 billion, foreign investment rates are forecast to increase to $7.4 billion in 2021-22, and non-petroleum commodity exports are targeted to increase by 10 percent to hit a record of $19.5 billion.”
The Senate is also scheduled this week to discuss a new bill on setting up a fund to be spent on medical emergency units. A report by the Senate's Health and Population Committee said that the fund is designed to be a tool that will be spent on certain kinds of medical services, ones that are not usually covered by the state budget.
"The Fund will be devoted to spending on patients receiving treatment at emergency and intensive care units; buying drugs and medicine, and providing health care services to citizens who are on waiting lists," said the report.
The 'Fund on Containing Medical Emergency Cases' will be headquartered in Cairo and affiliated with the Prime Minister.