Atif Malash, president of the Budget Division at the Ministry of Finance, said that the Ministry was in a race against time to complete its budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to present to the Shura Council before this coming March.
He added that the Ministry had consulted with a number of government agencies in order to discuss next year’s budget, and to identify which programmes and budgetary expenses needed to be included. He reinforced the need to include only the most necessary of all programmes and expenses, in order to help bridge the budget deficit and help the country overcome its current economic crisis.
Statements by the Ministry emphasised the need for all government agencies to continue operating within or below their current appropriation levels due to a general lack of resources and funding.
The Ministry further pushed these agencies to search for other sources of funding to meet their needs, and to separate their list of expenses into three categories. The first category would consist of those expenses that could be funded and paid for using the agency’s own resources; the second, to do with those needed to help address the country’s deficit; the third, being those expenses that could be paid for using funds from the current government budget.
The Ministry further requested that agencies seek the aid of private funds to help meet their needs, many of which are unwilling to lend money to Egypt’s current government or deposit funds into a unified treasury account; 20% of the budget according to the Ministry, will be used as investments to fund necessary state services.
The repayment of government debt, estimated at EGP 1.3tn, is expected to consume 35% of Egypt’s budget, while interest rates on bonds and treasury bills continue to increase due to political instability within the country.
Government salaries are expected to consume another 30% of the budget, due to clauses set to include Egypt’s 2008 law granting across the board pay increases for government employees, the permanent hiring of a number of temp workers, in addition to increased payment expenses for state pensions.
Rates of government investment are set to decrease in the coming fiscal year, compared to the EGP 56bn allotted for 2012-2013, due to the fact that many development projects launched during the current fiscal year are yet to secure a return on their initial investments. For these reasons, the government intends to focus only on current development projects before launching new ones.