CAIRO: The People’s Assembly (PA) approved Tuesday the government’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2009/10, with plans to increase spending on the health sector and water management.
Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah, PA member affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NDP), told Daily News Egypt that the majority in the PA voted for the amendments that were proposed by the planning and budget committee.
The committee proposed cutting from the exporters’ budget and allocating the money to water management, Kwaitah said.
During the same session, the PA approved President Hosni Mubarak’s recommendation of a 10 percent social raise.
“The same increase will also apply to pensions, Kwaitah said.
However, Hussein Ibrahim, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, said that the changes in the budget “are not enough and do not meet our [Brotherhood MPs’] demands.
“We had a detailed draft of the budget that includes changes to every point in the government’s proposed budget, Ibrahim said.
He said the group has repeatedly called for increasing minimum wages.
“In general, the changes [bonuses and special raises] the government applies do not affect basic salaries, Ibrahim said.
“It is not fair that some employees receive basic salaries of LE 200 while their employers can be receiving LE 1 million because of extra bonuses and raises, Ibrahim added.
The group is holding a press conference next week to discuss the issue.
Moreover, independent PA member Gamal Zahran also proposed setting an average basic salary for all public sector employees that ranges between a minimum of LE 1,200 and a maximum of LE 12,000.
However those demands were not approved by the PA.
Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali responded to inquiries by PA members regarding the government’s plan to decrease the part of the budget allocated to subsidies. He said this is directly related to a drop in global commodity prices.
Boutros-Ghali cited a ton of wheat that used to cost $480 during early 2009, but now stands at $180.
He stressed that the price of subsidized commodities that citizens buy with ration cards issued by the Ministry of Social Solidarity will not decrease.
“On the contrary, more families will be given ration cards to purchase subsidized commodities.