Egypt deficit in year to end-June 8.3 pct of GDP

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CAIRO: Egypt’s budget deficit in the fiscal year to June 30 was 8.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), less than the 8.4 percent projected last year, state news agency MENA quoted the finance minister as saying.

Revenue fell to about LE 269 billion ($47 billion) in 2009/10 from LE 282.5 billion in 2008/09, while expenditure increased to LE 367 billion from LE 351.5 billion, Youssef Boutros-Ghali was quoted as saying.

"These preliminary numbers show the Egyptian economy has successfully overcome the two successive world crises, the rise in world food and energy prices and the world financial crisis," MENA quoted Boutros-Ghali as saying.

This was demonstrated by a 22 percent increase in sales tax revenue on local goods, which shows economic activity has picked up, he added.

Egypt’s economy, which withstood the worst of the global economic crisis that began in mid-2008, was buoyed last year by resurgent tourism and Suez Canal receipts, along with resilient construction and gas exports.

Government revenue for 2009/10 was higher than the LE 267.8 billion the government had projected when it drew up the budget, while expenditure was at the same level, Boutros-Ghali said.

Government debt fell by 0.6 percentage points in the year until end-June to 80.5 percent of GDP. The economy grew by as much as 5.3 percent in the year, he added.

In 2008/09, GDP grew by 4.7 percent, down from about 7 percent over each of the previous three years.

The Finance Ministry aims to keep the deficit within 7.9 percent of GDP this fiscal year and between 3.0 and 3.5 percent in 2014/15, MENA quoted him as saying. The deficit in 2008/09 was 6.9 percent of GDP.

The government approved two stimulus packages worth a total LE 18 billion in 2009/10 designed to spur growth during the global economic slowdown.

The ministry also plans to reduce Egypt’s total debt to under 80 percent of GDP by June 30, 2011, and to 60 percent by June 30, 2014, Boutros-Ghali said.

At a news conference on Monday, Boutros-Ghali said Egypt’s total tax revenue had risen 6 percent in 2009/10 after an unexpected surge in economic activity.

Tax revenue in fiscal 2009/10 reached LE 148 billion ($26 billion), 12 billion more than budgeted, he said.


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By Reuters
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