In line with government’s preparations for implementing the new constitution, Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal issued a Ministerial Decree on Friday to form a committee to review the financial regulations and economic articles of the constitution.
The committee, which will include advisers and experts from the ministry, will study the laws that organise the tasks of the ministry and whether amendments are needed “in order to comply with the new constitution”, a statement from the ministry said.
Egypt’s new constitution was ratified on 18 January after being approved by 98.1% of voters. The first economic article in the constitution focused on the importance of achieving sustainable development, social justice, and raising the standard of living.
The state committed itself in Article 29 to providing crops at prices which yield an appropriate profit margin for farmers. The constitution also highlighted the importance of the private sector in serving the economy and society in Article 36, which confirms the state’s role in stimulating it.
Galal highlighted that the committee will determine the needed measures to make these articles effective “especially with regard to progressive tax”.
The progressive taxation system, approved by the 50-member Constituent Assembly tasked with amending the 2012 Constitution, has been deemed by experts a way to achieve social justice.
Galal added that prices of income and real estate taxes will also be reviewed to conform to the rise of the tax tranches.
According to the statement, Galal has sent letters to the Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Education and Health to prepare for the constitutionally mandate increase in spending on these sectors, which will be effective in the 2014/2015 fiscal year.
The amendments increase spending rates to 3% of GDP for health, 4% for education and 1% for scientific research.
Galal stressed that this increase will be directed not to raising employee wages but rather to improving the services of these sectors, the progress of which, he added, would be tracked.
Additional scientific research expenditures will be allocated for research projects that focus on “problems that Egyptians are suffering from” in order to achieve development and improve standards of living, Galal said.