A file photo of Egypt's finance minister Mohamed Maait (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt's Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that the COVID-19 crisis resulted in a decrease in the targeted economic growth in the current fiscal year (FY) 2019/2020 to 4.2 percent, down from six percent, and led to an increase in the public debt by EGP 44 billion (three percent of GDP) due to the increase in necessary expenses.
Maait's comments were made on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting held on Thursday.
He said the coronavirus crisis also resulted in a decline in public revenues by EGP 75 billion, including a loss of EGP 65 billion from tax revenues, adding that the expected budget deficit will rise to 7.9 percent, up from 7.2 percent, due to the crisis.
The government spent extra sums in the past two and a half months with EGP 40 billion from the EGP 100 billion that were appropriated to counter the COVID-19 implications in implementation of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s orders, according to Maait.
Maait clarified that additional allocations of EGP 5.1 billion were provided to support the health sector to be able to take all preventive and precautionary measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to disbursing bonuses for medical staffs and those who work in quarantine points.
He added that EGP 5 billion were provided for the supply ministry to provide the additional needs of wheat and supply commodities for the sake of providing food and essential commodities for the public.
Maait noted that governmental investments were increased by EGP 10 billion to keep the workforce and repay contractors and suppliers' dues.
He said that some economic sectors were supported with EGP 10 billion, in line with President El-Sisi’s directives to support the affected productive and economic sectors.
Maait stressed that the government has succeeded in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis through striking a balance between preserving citizens’ health, keeping the production cycle running, and providing the essential commodities in the market.
* 1 USD = 15,69 EGP according to CBE exchange rate on Thursday