Coronavirus, Russian-Ukrainian War cost Egypt EGP 440 bln in losses over two years: Finance minister

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 20 Jun 2022

​The coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian War cost Egypt EGP 440 billion in losses over the past two years, said Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait on Monday while delivering his conclusive speech at the House of Representatives.

finance minister
Egypt s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait speaks before the parliament. File photo: Khaled Mashaal


He added that many sectors, particularly tourism and civil aviation, were hit hard.

Maait’s statement comes one day before MPs are due to approve a report prepared by the House’s Budget Committee on the new budget and plan as Egypt’s Parliament — the House of Representatives — finished a two-day discussion on the country’s FY2022/23 budget and Socio-development Plan last Tuesday.

Maait explained that “without these two crises, Egypt would have saved $7.5 billion.”

“The government is doing its best to contain the negative impact of these two crises and make sure that all food and fuel products are available on the market,” he added.

In their comments on Sunday and Monday, MPs criticized the government, citing excessive foreign borrowing and a lack of fiscal discipline. They also called for scrapping subsidies in favour of cash transfers.

In response, Maait said the government is keen on implementing the recommendations passed by MPs.

“I have listened to MPs asking for rationalising government spending, and this sounds great, but it could negatively affect sectors like health, education, and salaries, which are in desperate need of greater spending all the time.”

Maait also emphasised that the government is putting a maximum limit on the salaries of consultants employed by the government.

“We recovered EGP 40 million as a result of imposing a cap on salaries of consultants and experts last year,” he said.

The minister also promised that the government will do its best to reduce debt servicing costs.

“But please remember that most of the loans borrowed were necessary for implementing productive projects,” he assured.

A final vote on the budget plan is expected in Tuesday’s plenary session.

At the end of the debate, Speaker of the House Hanafy El-Gebaly said that “MPs’ recommendations on the FY2022/23 budget and plan will be referred to the government to be implemented on the ground as much as possible.”

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