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Independent MPs delay decision to grant government confidence until Wednesday - Daily News Egypt

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Independent MPs delay decision to grant government confidence until Wednesday

Ismail must boost spending on education, health, and scientific research to 10%, according to the constitution, says ElDessouky

The House of Representatives is continuing its discussions on whether to grant confidence in Sherif Ismail’s cabinet or to reject the government programme.

According to sources, members of parliament will vote to grant the government confidence on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

Parliamentary sources said independent MPs have put forward several requests to the speaker, Ali Abdul Aal. Among these requests is drafting a timeline for the implementation of projects and funding mechanisms.

MP Mohamed Badawi ElDessouky said parliament includes120 independent MPs and most of them have demands to be discussed over the coming sessions.

The government’s plan includes the budget for the next fiscal year, which targeted a deficit of 9.9% of the total GDP, which the programme estimated at EGP 3.2tr.

It will not be acceptable for the deficit to exceed target ratios, or impose taxes and duties, as long as the programme is adopted, ElDessouky said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted in its 2016 Fiscal Observatory report that the budget deficit for the next fiscal year will reach 11.5%.

According to the government’s programme that was sent to the House of Representatives, Sherif Ismail’s cabinet aims to achieve a deficit between 9-10%, which will be brought down to 8% in fiscal year 2019/2020.

ElDessouky said independent lawmakers are demanding that the constitutional provisions for education, health, and scientific research be activated.

The current constitution requires the government to increase allocations for university education to 2%, pre-university education to 4%, health to 3%, and scientific research to 1%.

Assistant Minister of Finance for Treasury Affairs Mohamed Meit said in press statements that the government raised the provisions for education, health, and scientific research for the next fiscal year’s budget. However, the allocations are still below the constitutional bar, which imposes that these sectors receive 10% of the total GDP.

Meit attributed that to the limited expected resources in the budget for next year.

MP Haitham El-Hariri said that independent MPs criticised the government’s programme due to a lack of financing mechanisms for projects mentioned in the programme.

MP Ayman Abou Elela said that not abiding to the constitution with regards to spending on health cannot be tolerated.

Topics: Sherif Ismail

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