A file photo of Egypt's Parliament (Photo: Reuters)
The overwhelming majority of Egyptian MPs have voted on Monday on approving the state’s new 2021/22 budget and socio-economic development plan. The approval came after a two-month discussion in hearing sessions held by the House’s committees.
Parliament Speaker Hanafy Gebaly said the discussion was marked by objectivity and accuracy. “It also directed a lot of constructive criticism to government policies, but this is democracy, and this reflects the constitutional obligation of the House to exercise supervision over the government’s performance,” said Gebaly, adding that “the government should be keen to observe the House’s critical comments because they aim to achieve public interests.”
Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said the new budget shows that the government was able to rein in public debts and budget deficit. Maait said the government seeks to cut public debts to 89.5 percent of GDP in June 2022 to less than 70 percent in the coming years.
“I would also like to indicate that servicing of debts was cut from 40 percent three years ago to 35 percent this year, and we aim to cut it further to 31.4 in the new budget,” said Maait.
Egypt’s new 2021/22 budget targets revenues of EGP 2.365 trillion, while expenditures are estimated to reach EGP 2.837 trillion.
Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said that the new socio-economic development plan (2021/22) aims to inject greater investments into the two sectors of education and health.
“While we decided to earmark EGP 56 billion in investments to the education sector, we plan to allocate EGP 47.5 billion to the health sector,” said El-Said.
According to El-Said, the new socio-economic development plan aims to spend EGP 933 billion in overall investments in 2021/22. “This amount represents an increase by 46 percent from last year and aims to achieve an economic growth rate of 5.4 percent,” said El-Said, adding that “the new socio-economic development plan aims to increase tourism revenues to USD 6 billion, reduce the employment rate to 7.3 percent, and cut the poverty rate to 28.5 percent.”
The new 2021/22 budget and socio-economic development plan were rejected by four political parties: the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the Modern Egypt party, the Tagammu party, and Al-Adl (Justice) party.