The public debt, domestic and foreign, jumped to EGP 2.8tr—equivalent to 96% of the annual GDP—under two years of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as president.
When Al-Sisi took office in June 2014, debt stood at EGP 1.8tr.
Public debt is a permanent headache to the Egyptian economy, and does not seem to be receding in the near future.
The total domestic debt at the end of the first half of the current fiscal year increased to EGP 2.4tr (83.6% of GDP), compared to EGP 1.9tr at the end of December 2014.
While public debt is increasing rapidly, GDP is increasing at a slower rate, adding a burden to the budget for debt service payments on the account of development and service projects.
Before the 25 January Revolution, the public debt accounted for 88% of GDP, 73% of which is domestic debt and 15% is foreign debt.
Foreign debt is also a burden on the state. At the end of December 2015, external debt registered $47.8bn compared to $41.3bn in December 2014.
Domestic public debt increased on the back of the Ministry of Finance’s borrowing, through domestic debt instruments, to bridge the state budget deficit. But the state is suffering from a severe shortage of resources, including tourism, export revenues, and foreign direct investment, due to pressing security unrest.
Domestic public debt during Al-Sisi’s term, until now, increased by EGP 600bn, while external debt rose by $1.8bn.
In the second year of Al-Sisi’s presidency, per capita external debt recorded $491.2 versus $454 in December 2014, according to the latest data of the Central Bank of Egypt.
Director of the Egyptian Private Equity Association Hany Tawfik said that the total public debt is likely to exceed EGP 3tr by the end of this fiscal year, exceeding 100% of the total GDP.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have both warned the Egyptian government, in their latest report, about rising domestic public debt levels.
The Ministry of Finance, since the beginning of the current fiscal year has endeavoured to control the domestic debt. It formed a unit within the ministry for debt management in order to tackle this problem. However, this unit has not yet issued any reports or notes except for the schedule of treasury bills and bonds offerings.