Minister of Finance Hani Qadri (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt’s budget deficit fell to 11.5 percent of its GDP in the fiscal year 2014-2015 which ended in June, compared to 12.2 percent recorded in the previous year, the country’s Ministry of Finance announced in a press statement on Monday.
The budget deficit for FY14/15 had initially been set at 10.8 percent of GDP.
The statement attributed the reduced deficit to an increase of LE45.7 billion in tax revenues compared to the previous year.
Total public revenues rose by LE8.5 billion year-on-year to LE465.2 billion according to Minister of Finance Hany Kadry, while expenditures rose by LE31.8 billion to a total of LE733.4 billion.
The growth rate for the first nine months of the fiscal year reached 4.6 percent, according to the statement.
The fuel subsidy bill amounted to LE73.9 billion compared to LE126.2 billion in FY13/14, and is lower than the projected LE100 billion for FY14/15 due to a dramatic fall in oil prices.
Egypt raised fuel prices by as much as 78 percent at the start of the 2014/2015 fiscal year to trim its massive fuel subsidy bill, which accounted for a fifth of the public spending in previous years.
The food subsidy bill rose by LE3.9 billion year on year to LE39.4 billion, according to the minister, as the number of beneficiaries has been expanded and subsidies to the electricity sector almost doubled to reach LE23.6 billion.
Spending on education rose by 9.8 percent to LE92.3 to represent 4 percent of GDP. Spending on healthcare amounted to LE37.2 billion, a 21 percent increase compared to the previous year according to the minister, or 1.5 percent of GDP.
According to its 2014 constitution, Egypt’s government is required to spend at least 3 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) on healthcare and at least 4 percent of GNP on education.