Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that meeting the basic needs of citizens, in implementation of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s directives, is a top priority for the finance ministry.
The state is doing its utmost to absorb the largest possible amount of global economic shocks in the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which — according to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report — has doubled the inflationary pressure resulting from supply chain disruptions, sharp rises in freight costs, and global prices for goods and services.
Maait said that Egypt has a strategic reserve of wheat that is sufficient for eight months — taking into account the coming April’s local yield — stressing the government’s keenness to sustain its reserve stock of wheat from alternative international markets to ensure that the country’s needs are secured in light of this exceptional situation of the global economy.
The minister made this statement during an open discussion held with famous figures in press and media outlets as part of a series of community dialogues on the objectives of the new budget in the presence of Ehab Abu Eish, the Deputy Minister for Public Treasury Affairs.
Maait stressed that the ministry is committed to submitting the new budget draft to the House of Representatives on the constitutional date scheduled for this month, taking into account the sharp rise in international prices for energy and primary commodities.
He pointed out that Egypt is part of the world and is therefore affected by the turmoil it is witnessing, however, the Egyptian economy has become resilient and able to handle local and global shocks.
“We have managed to contain the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic and the emerging market crisis, and we can together overcome other difficult conditions,” he added.
“We must cultivate and manufacture all our needs so as not to import inflation from abroad,” he said. He also praised the growing role of the wise political leadership in adopting a national strategy to maximise Egypt’s production capabilities in various sectors by localising distinguished global experiences to achieve self-sufficiency.
Maait noted that the government is keen to maximise development investments to improve people’s lives and the level of services provided to them. He explained that there is a new stimulus package to reinforce the role of the private sector in the comprehensive and sustainable development process and increase its contributions to economic activity to provide more jobs and enhance growth rates sustainably as well as strengthen the structure of the national economy.
The minister also stressed that the government will continue to increase spending on health and education as the main pillars of human development. It also seeks to expand the application of the comprehensive health insurance system in the governorates to lift the financial burden of medical treatment off of citizens’ shoulders.
He shed light on the success of the system in Port Said and Luxor and the government’s readiness to extend the umbrella of this new system to include Ismailia, Suez, and Aswan during the coming period.
Maait concluded by saying that major efforts are being made to achieve the financial goals of the state’s general budget, whether in terms of growth rates, or reducing the deficit and debt of the GDP in light of exceptional global economic challenges.