The heads of the health and education committees called upon the government to raise the allocations of three ministries to 10% of GDP.
The Constitution allows the government to increase the allocations to the ministries of education, higher education, and health to 4%, 2%, and 3% of GDP, respectively, with the Ministry of Higher Education receiving an additional 1% for scientific research. This amount was estimated by the government at EGP 3.2tr in the next fiscal year.
Gamal Sheiha, head of parliament’s Education Committee, said the committee is committed to increasing education and scientific research allocations to 7% of gross GDP.
He pointed out that approving the current draft budget makes it unconstitutional.
He also noted that the ministries of education and higher education do not have untapped assets or special funds to supplement any shortcomings in financial allocations according to the Constitution.
MP Magdy Morshed, head of the Health Committee, said that the government only allocated EGP 47.4bn for the ministry, which is lower than 3% of GDP.
Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady called on the government to increase the allocations to his ministry to EGP 61bn, with an additional EGP 13bn allocated to preventive medicine, lifting the total to EGP 74bn.
“Allocations of the Health Ministry should not be less than EGP 96bn, according to the Constitution,” Morshed said.
He added that implementing comprehensive health insurance would require EGP 10bn for the first year, yet the Ministry of Finance only allocated EGP 7.8bn.
Morshed pointed out that the wages account for 60% of health allocations and surplus is used for investment and development.
Daily News Egypt revealed that Hussein Issa, head of parliament’s Budget and Planning Committee, was set to meet Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy and Planning Minister Ashraf Al-Araby to deal with the dispute last Thursday.
Issa told Daily News Egypt that the meeting was rescheduled to Saturday. “Time is short and we need to find a solution,” he stressed.
Parliamentary sources at the Planning Committee said that the committee requested delaying discussions on the draft budget to next Sunday so as to give the ministers enough time to look for solutions.
Moreover, the sources added that the draft could be recalled back to the cabinet to introduce some amendments. These amendments might include raising the allocations of the three ministries and adjusting the deficit estimated at 9.8%.
According to sources, the parliament has a big problem with the legislative agenda bloated with draft projects and bills that must be discussed and approved before the end of the current fiscal year, including the compressive health insurance, the value-added tax (VAT), and the draft budget.