File Photo: Egypt's Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy
Egypt’s total subsidy bill in the coming fiscal year (2017/18) is estimated at EGP 385 billion, up from EGP 285 billion in the current fiscal year, finance minister Amr El-Garhy told Al-Ahram daily in an interview published on Tuesday.
El-Garhy said that the bill includes food subsidies and social safety network initiative Takaful and Karama.
The Takaful and Karama programme, established by the government in early 2015, is a national social safety net programme aimed at protecting the poor through income support.
El-Garhy added that the total public debt registered EGP 3.4 trillion, or 103 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The minister attributed the growing public debt to the increasing interest rates, which are currently estimated at EGP 305 billion and expected to reach EGP 380 billion in 2017/18.
Last week, El-Garhy said that the deficit in the draft budget for the coming fiscal year is expected to be lower than 10 percent of GDP.
Egypt started a fiscal reform programme in July 2014 in an attempt to curb the growing state budget deficit through cutting subsidies and introducing new taxes.
The draft budget is set to be presented to parliament before the end of March, the minister said.