The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Research (ECESR), along with several civil society organisations, issued a joint statement Tuesday requesting that the interim government “immediately publish the proposed bill for the state’s general budget for the fiscal year [FY] 2014/2015”.
According to the joint statement, the finance ministry refrained from publishing the draft on 1 April, which constitutes a failure in addressing its legal obligations.
The 2014 constitution and the state’s general budget law obliges the finance ministry to publish a budget draft for the state, government economic bodies, public sector companies and holding companies in the public business sector.
“Laws governing this operation are intended to achieve the required separation between legislative and executive powers by allowing the state budget to be discussed by the people’s representatives prior to being enacted by the government,” the statement said.
The statement added that the government is also obliged to publish a simplified version of the budget for the average Egyptian citizen.
“Evidence confirms the current interim government’s lack of interest in reversing the situation,” the statement read. “This would mean that, for the third time in a row, the state’s general budget will be adopted without passing through the discussion phase, which was supposed to be carried out by members of the parliament, acting as [the] peoples’ representatives, and without holding a real societal debate as an alternative”.
This is the third time during FY 2013/2014 that the finance ministry has failed to meet the budget’s publishing deadline.
Civil society organisations have requested that the government hold “a societal dialogue” on the budget bill. They added that this dialogue should be comprehensive and representative of society’s different segments.
“They [civil society organisations] also call on the interim president of the republic to take the outcome of this societal debate into consideration in adopting the budget,” the statement added.
Alongside the ECESR, the Egyptian Association for Collective Rights, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Association for Health and Environmental Development (AHED), Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, New Woman Foundation and the South Centre for Rights have all signed the statement.