File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session (AP)
The budget targets EGP 2.071 trillion in expenditures and EGP 1.518 trillion in revenues. This, according to Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, means a budget deficit of EGP 553 billion, up from EGP 475 billion in FY2021/22.
Maait indicated that the budget also targets tax receipts of EGP 1.2 trillion, “however, net borrowing is expected to reach EGP 558 billion in the new budget, while we will be required to pay EGP 965.4 billion in settlement of debts during the coming FY, which will begin on the first of July.”
He also noted that despite the global economic crisis that has been triggered by the war in Ukraine, the budget targets more spending on subsidies and social safety net programmes.
“Fuel subsidies will be increased from EGP 18.4 billion to EGP 28.9 billion, while food subsidies, which cover bread and basic commodities for 71 million citizens holding ration cards, will climb from EGP 87.2 billion to EGP 90 billion,” said Maait during the debate.
On Tuesday, the House also approved the FY 2022/23 Socio-economic Development Plan and the budgets of 59 public economic organisations.
The debate over the budget and plan on Sunday and Monday saw a lot of MPs levelling sharp criticism at the government and finance minister, citing excessive borrowing, lack of fiscal discipline, and austerity measures. The Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party said it had decided not to endorse the budget and plan.
Meanwhile, the House also gave a final approval on amendments to the Agricultural Land Tax Law.
The law, which was approved in principle by MPs on 7 June, will suspend the imposition of the agricultural land tax for two years — starting from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 — and that under approval from the cabinet, the suspension could also be extended for another year — ending on 30 June 2024.
Additionally, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Alaa Fouad said the government’s approval of a two-year suspension of the law aims to ease financial burdens for farmers and stimulate them to increase agricultural production of strategic crops like wheat.
The House also gave a thumbs up on a government-drafted law regulating procedures of filing appeals before the Cassation Court. The law, which was approved in principle on 7 June, aims to speed up the process of settling judicial disputes before cassation courts.
In another news, the House approved a government-drafted law aiming to establish a military technological academy in Egypt.
Major-General Mamdouh Shahin told MPs that the new academy will offer technical education and technological training that will help army officers keep abreast of the latest developments in military technology.
* 1 USD = 18.78 EGP according to the Central Bank of Egypt on Tuesday 21 June