Egypt's 2012/13 budget deficit reaches $35bn: Initial figures

Ahram Online, Saturday 14 Sep 2013

A nine percent surge in government expenditure over expectations, coupled with lower than anticipated tax returns and sluggish growth, leaves Egypt a budget deficit equal to 14 percent of GDP

Egyptian Finance minister Ahmed Galal
Egyptian Finance minister Ahmed Galal

Egypt registered a state’s budget deficit of LE240 billion (roughly $34.8 billion) for the fiscal year 2012/13, representing 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), initial figures released by finance ministry on Friday show.

Egyptian Finance Minister Ahmed Galal has stated that the government aims to diminish the deficit to nine percent of GDP, and to push up the growth rate to four percent.

Egypt's growth rate is expected to reach an average of 2.3 percent for the fiscal year 2012/13, according to initial figures announced.

Also according the initial figures of the state’s bill for the fiscal year 2012/13, public expenditures reached LE582.7 billion (roughly $84.5 billion), a rise of nine percent over the governmental plan to spend LE533.7 billion (roughly $77.4 billion).

Egypt’s public spending stood at LE471 billion (roughly $68.3 billion) in the fiscal year 2011/12.

On the other hand, the public treasury saw initial revenues of LE344.6 billion (roughly $50 billion) — 12 percent less than expected.

According to the statement, tax revenues recorded LE251.1 billion (roughly $36.4 billion) during the 12 months that preceded 30 June 2013.

The Egyptian government is expecting an additional LE322 billion (roughly $46 billion) in tax revenues, as part of the 2013/2014 budget, an Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA) official told Ahram Online in August.

The total subsidy bill swelled to reach LE197 billion (roughly $28.5 billion) in 2012/13, almost third of which allocated to energy subsidies that stood at LE120 billion (roughly $17.4 billion).

The state subsidy bill was LE157.8 billion (roughly $22.8 billion) in the fiscal year 2011/12.

Egypt’s previous government, under the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, introduced smart-card system in an attempt to curb fuel smuggling and to rationalise petrol subsidies by around LE20 billion in the fiscal year 2013/14.

The smart-card system is still operational under the current government, led by the liberal Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, managed by a triad between the finance ministry, the interior ministry, and E-finance Company.  

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