Egypt’s budget deficit shrank by 6 percent in the first eight months of the 2013/14 fiscal year as compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year, according to the finance ministry's latest bulletin.
The deficit reached LE123.6 billion ($17.7 billion) between July and February 2013, down from the LE146.5 billion ($21 billion) recorded in the first eight months of the previous fiscal year.
The budget deficit is expected to reach between 11 and 12 percent by the end of the current fiscal year, the finance minister told reporters at his first press conference earlier in March.
The projected budget deficit is a revision on a previous target of 10 percent announced by El-Beblawi's government, which had recently started implementing a minimum wage scheme at the cost of LE18 billion ($2.5 billion) annually.
The finance ministry’s bulletin has attributed the slowdown in deficit to the rise in the taxes revenues that recorded LE148.7 billion ($21.3 billion) between July and February 2013/14 against LE136.8 billion ($19.6 billion) during the same period of 2012/13.
The report added that total grant, principally from foreign governments, during the aforementioned period drove the deficit down as well as they rose by whopping 48.7 percent to reach LE51.3 billion ($7.3 billion).
Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates showered Egypt with $3 billion in grants in the first eight months of FY2013/14.
The total budget deficit for the FY2013/14 is expected to reach some LE186 billion ($27 billion), the equivalent of 9 percent of the GDP, compared to 14 percent -- LE240 billion ($34.8 billion) -- in the FY2012/13.
Total revenues for the aforementioned period recorded LE254.2 billion ($36.4 billion), a rise of 12.4 percent compared to the first eight months of the previous FY.
Expenditures reached LE373.3 billion ($53.5 billion) in the first eight months of FY2013/14, up from LE330 billion ($47.3 billion) in the same period of the previous FY.
Egypt’s total subsidy bill registered a decline of LE9 billion ($1.2 billion) in the first eight months of FY2013/14 compared to the corresponding period of previous fiscal year recording LE80.6 billion ($11.5 billion), of which LE50 billion ($7.1 billion) were allocated to the petroleum products.
Total domestic debt stood at LE1.48 trillion ($0.21 trillion) in December 2013 compared to LE1.24 trillion ($0.18 trillion) in December 2012.
Egypt’s external debt rose to $45.8 billion in December 2013, up from $38.8 billion the same month a year before.