Finance Minister outlines plan to reduce Egypt’s public debt, boost economic growth

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read

Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, announced on Tuesday a plan to reduce the public debt to 75% of the GDP by 2027, down from 159% in 1980/1981. He also highlighted the government’s efforts to create a conducive environment for private investments, support green initiatives, and improve social spending.

In a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Maait said that the Egyptian economy has shown resilience in the face of global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions, over the past years. He attributed this to the positive and flexible handling of these challenges, the advanced infrastructure, and the continued implementation of robust structural reforms that stimulate the path to economic stability.

Maait said that the government focuses on creating a favourable environment for both local and foreign private investments, aiming to capitalize on Egypt’s competitive advantages. He added that the private sector is pivotal in driving development, recovery, and economic growth, making it a major focus in 2024.

He also said that the government has adopted national programs supporting green investments, offering cash incentives, tax breaks, and customs benefits. These measures align with efforts to combat climate change, contribute to enhancing the development process, and establish the foundations of a decent life that meets the aspirations of citizens in the new republic.

Maait explained that Egypt’s economic situation over the past 43 years reflects fundamental reforms that have contributed to controlling the state’s public finances. He said that positive indicators of the overall economic performance have been observed over the past nine years compared to the preceding 34 years.

He said that, for the first time in over 37 years, the state managed to cover its expenses from its resources and achieved a primary surplus in the fiscal year 2017/2018. This surplus has been maintained for six years, reaching 1.6% of the GDP in the fiscal year 2022/2023.

He said that the government aims to achieve an even larger primary surplus of 2.5%, despite severe global crises, in the current fiscal year 2023/2024. He also said that there is a plan to reduce the budget deficit to 5% in June 2027, down from 13.8% in the fiscal year 1981/1982.

He said that the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to decrease from 159% in the fiscal year 1980/1981 to 95.7% in June 2023, with a target of reaching 75% in 2027. This will be achieved through the continued implementation of fiscal discipline policies and maximizing general revenues.

Maait also emphasized the government’s commitment to improving social spending efficiency to enhance human development. He said that the allocations for vital sectors will be increased through impactful programs and initiatives to alleviate the burdens on citizens as much as possible.

He said that actual spending on support increased by a growth rate of 50.9% during the past fiscal year, with an allocation of EGP 530bn in the current fiscal year for support and social protection programs, compared to approximately EGP 244.5bn in 2014/2015. This includes increased allocations for social solidarity pensions and the “Takaful and Karama” programme, raising housing support to EGP 12.1bn, and increasing support for basic commodities to EGP 128bn.

He noted that the constitutional entitlements for health and education in the current budget were fulfilled despite global economic challenges and associated significant financial pressures. He said that health sector financial allocations increased by 30.4% to about EGP 397bn compared to EGP 304.5bn during the fiscal year 2022/2023. This contributes to improving healthcare services for citizens and reducing financial and psychological burdens resulting from illness.

Maait also mentioned that financial allocations for pre-university and university education increased by 24.3%, reaching about EGP 591.9bn in the current fiscal year compared to EGP 476.1bn in the fiscal year 2022/2023. The financial allocations for scientific research were raised by 17.5% to about EGP 99.6bn compared to EGP 84.8bn in the fiscal year 2022/2023.

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