By: Lamia Nabil
The ministry of finance announced its approval on former Prime Minister Ali Lotfy’s initiative to return to Government coffers funds spent on essential commodity subsidies consumed by the wealthy.
“I have received approval from Al-Morsi Hegazy, the minister of finance, on this initiative,” said Lotfy.
“My initiative calls on the rich to voluntarily pay back to the Egyptian Government the value of the subsidies they have received over the last year,” he explained.
He said that the current ungraded subsidies system, which does not take into account the differences in income levels between “the rich and the poor is a violation of social justice, which was one of the main aims of the revolution”.
“The government currently has EGP 140m in subsidies in the budget,” he said. “We have about 85 million [people] in Egypt; so if we divide the two numbers we can find that subsidies reach EGP 1,600 per person, which led me to call on those [rich] people to give back the subsidies they have received.”
Minister of Finance Al-Morsi Hegazy said in a statement on Monday that Lotfy’s initiative was an example of the “Egyptian spirit of responsibility”.
He added that the government welcomed the initiative of voluntarily subsidy refunds from those who are able to pay them back, and that any citizen wishing to refund their subsidies should check their exact value and make a donation into a general treasury account at the Central Bank of Egypt called “The Egyptian national Economy Support Account”.
The minister said that the account will receive donations from citizens in Egypt as well as from those abroad for refunding their subsidies “or any other noble purposes”, through all banks operating in the Egyptian market and also through the Central Bank’s network abroad.