Egypt's budget deficit hit 12.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at EGP 339.5 billion for fiscal year 2015/16, the finance ministry said in an official statement on Wednesday.
The government had expected a deficit of around 11.5 percent of GDP and has been aiming to reduce it to 9.8 percent by end of the current fiscal year, 2016/2017.
The final account of the 2015/2016 budget revealed a whopping decline of 86 percent in international grants, falling to EGP 3.5 billion in comparison with EGP 25 billion in 2014/2015 and EGP 95 billion in 2013/2014.
Public revenue reached EGP 491.5 billion, up 5.6 percent from last year. Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy attributed the increase to tax revenues, which rose by EGP 46.4 billion, as well as non-tax revenues which amounted to around EGP 1.8 billion.
However, public expenditures increased to EGP 817.8 billion, an of 11.5 percent increase over 2014/2015.
El-Garhy said this year witnessed higher spending on wages, reaching EGP 214 billion – 26 percent of total expenditure – compared to EGP 16 billion in 2014/15.
Spending on social development amounted to EGP 396 billion in 2015/16, representing 49.5 percent of overall spending. Food and electricity subsidies rose by EGP 3.3 billion and EGP 5 billion respectively, the minister said.
The finance ministry said it will present the final account of the 2015/2016 budget to the cabinet for discussion and approval, before it is sent to the parliament for ratification.
*The official exchange rate for $1 = EGP 8.78