Maait and El-Said present the budget and plan to parliament
On 17 April, the House voted to send the draft budget and the development plan to the Budget Committee for discussion.
In a one-hour statement, Maait said the preparation and discussion of Egypt's FY 2022/23 budget comes amid difficult global conditions, such as the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented wave of global inflationary pressures that have become more acute in the recent two months due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. However, "these two crises showed the resilience of the Egyptian economy and the country's ability to turn plight into opportunity," he said.
Maait added the government will do its best to weather the crises that have hit most of the world's economies in the past two years. "While we were recovering from the negative economic impact of the coronavirus, we were shocked by unprecedented global inflationary pressures caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis that has led the world's fuel and wheat prices to skyrocket."
Maait stated that "this new challenge should make us aware that we should continue on the road of implementing economic reforms in order to keep achieving positive macroeconomic indicators. We want to build a modern and resilient economy capable of standing up to shocks."
He promised the state will implement more social protection programmes to cushion the effect of the current crises.
Maait said the budget of the education and health sectors in the 2022/23 budget will be increased by EGP 310 billion, and that "subsidied bread and basic food commodities which go to 71 million Egyptian citizens will reach a new record of EGP 90 billion."
He noted that cash subsidies to social insurance and Takaful and Karama pensions will be increased by EGP 3 billion to reach EGP 22 billion to cover 450,000 more families.
Maait argued that despite the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Egyptian economy was able to achieve a growth rate of nine percent during the first quarter of FY 2021/22.
"Egypt's economy was able to tackle these challenges carefully and efficiently and the fact that it was able to achieve positive growth rates in such difficult circumstances should lead all political forces, including the president, the government and the House, to join hands in the coming stage," said Maait.
Economic growth is expected to reach 5.7 percent by the end of the current fiscal year, up from 3.3 percent last year.
"Recent economic figures show that the unemployment rate remained low at 7.4 percent during the October-November-December quarter of FY 2021/22, compared to 7.2 percent in December 2020," said Maait.
Fiscal discipline policies reduced the budget deficit to 5.07 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2021/22, down from 5.13 percent during the same period in 2020, and 9.4 percent between March and July of 2015/16, he noted.
Minister of Planning El-Said said it was earlier expected that Egypt would achieve a growth rate of 6.4 percent in 2021/22 as it was able to quickly recover from the coronavirus pandemic and achieve a high growth rate of nine per cent during the first half of the current fiscal year.
El-Said said the Russia-Ukraine crisis caused a negative impact that led the growth rate to be downgraded to six percent at the end of the current fiscal year and to 5.7 per cent in FY 2022/23. "We, however, expect it to resume climbing again to reach 6.2 percent and 6.5 percent in the following two years, which are higher than the 3.3 percent recorded in FY 2020/21 and of those achieved by other countries, currently ranging between 3-4 percent," said El-Said.
According to El-Said, the domestic gross rate is expected to reach EGP 9.26 trillion at the current prices, with a growth rate of 16.3 percent, compared to EGP 7.96 trillion last year.
"At the same time we aim to achieve an investment boom, and we expect that investments will continue to exceed EGP 1 trillion for the second year, to reach EGP 1.45 trillion in the new fiscal year, compared to an expected EGP 1.24 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2021/22, with a growth rate of 17 percent," said El-Said, indicating that "an expected amount of EGP 1.1 trillion (76 percent) will go to public investments, compared to EGP 350 billion to private investments."
El-Said said priority in public investments will be given to completing national projects 70 percent of which had been implemented.
She added that achieving a higher economic growth rate is not the only objective of the new socio-economic development plan, because it also aims to reduce the unemployment rate to 7.05 per cent. "This will be achieved by implementing infrastructural reforms and modernising the system of technical education," said El-Said.