The Ministry of Planning is communicating with a number of ministries to submit their mid-term sustainable development programmes, due to launch in the next fiscal year (FY) 2017/2018 and last until the end of 2019/20.
The ministry receive the ministries’ programmes from October until January 2017, following which it will prepare an integrated plan and send it to the House of Representatives in April for discussion and approval.
Deputy Minister of Planning Nihal El-Megharbel said the ministry seeks to prepare the mid-term sustainable development plan (2017/2018 – 2019/2020) and present it to the House of Representatives in April 2017, in accordance with the Constitution.
In an interview with Al-Borsa, she added that the sustainable development plan for the current fiscal year comes in line with the government’s medium-term programme (2016/2017 – 2017/2018), which was passed by the House of Representatives in March.
El-Megharbel noted that the government’s programme and the sustainable development plan for the current fiscal year comply with the goals of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030. This strategy represents a long-term framework for the sustainable development of three sectors: economic, social, and environmental.
She said the Planning Ministry has developed an executive plan for the current fiscal year, as this is the first year of the government’s programme and long-term sustainable development.
She added that the plan includes the formation of working groups in all ministries to follow-up on the implementation of programmes and projects in the sustainable development plan. These groups will depend on standardised reports distributed to all ministries.
“The ministry is considering submitting a draft law for the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030. Although the issuance of this law is necessary, it is not sufficient to ensure the commitment of implementing the strategy,” she said.
El-Megharbel explained that the continuation of the long-term development strategy requires support from the community, civil society, and the private sector. This is the only guarantee for achieving the goals of Egypt Vision 2030.
She added that the working groups in various ministries will review the legislative agenda to achieve the objectives of the plan.
She pointed out that the value-added tax (VAT) is already within the legislative agenda of the strategy, in addition to the bankruptcy, labour, unified planning, and unified land laws. All of these laws aim to improve the investment environment and, along with other laws, preserve intellectual property in light of the government’s orientation to promote cultural production and heritage.
El-Megharbel added that the unified planning law aims to integrate the economic, social, and environmental development planning with the spatial dimension of development. It also combines sectorial and spatial planning at the local and regional level to raise the efficiency of public investment and develop the Egyptian economy’s competitiveness locally and globally.
She said that the ministry is reviewing the final draft of the law in light of the observations of various ministries and bodies in the committee drafting the law, led by the National Planning Institute, in preparation for sending it to the cabinet for discussion.
She expected to discuss the unified land law during the second half of the fiscal year. The ministry is working to set a date for completing the law in cooperation with the committee that is drafting the law, including the ministries of finance, defence, interior, and justice, as well as the Urban Planning Authority and the National Centre for Planning State Land Uses.
The Planning Ministry has been working on developing an integrated system for planning and following-up on projects for three years. The new system will link the various ministries and provinces electronically.
El-Megharbel added that seven electronic models have already been designed to provide an integrated database for new and existing projects. These models will be linked to indicators, which will be used to prepare periodic reports of the projects. These reports will be presented to decision-makers to accelerate the pace of the implementation of projects, especially those that have been sitting out for a relatively long period of time.
The ministry held meetings in Alexandria to review the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 in the presence of representatives of the planning departments in the Delta provinces. The ministry held similar meetings in Aswan and Assiut with the participation of managers of planning departments and town heads in Upper Egypt.
She said that these meetings aimed to discuss developing the seven regional planning departments affiliated with the ministry and the forms of planning and electronic follow-up of the projects.
El-Megharbel noted that the ministry works on setting a timetable for the completion of the projects and the restructuring of a number of others, which can be dropped in favour of other projects.
She added that the ministry seeks to make local development plans to the provinces in the coming period, especially as the local councils will have the right to observe the implementation of the plans and discuss them with the administrative authorities in the governorate.
“For example, if a certain department will implement a sewage project in a particular street, and another department plans to pave the same street, the paving will be delayed until the completion of the sewage project,” she added.
In regards to the possibility of a conflict between the macro policies unit at the Ministry of Planning and its counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, she explained that the planning ministry’s macro policies unit measures the impact of macroeconomic policies on economic growth. She added that there is no conflict between the two units, as both of us measure the impact of macro policies on different macroeconomic variables.
El-Megharbel pointed out that regular meetings are scheduled to be held with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) when issuing the economic indicators to ensure integration and consistency, adding that such meetings are familiar in all countries.
She added that the ministry seeks to coordinate with different sides to issue state data regularly, as Egypt has been suffering for several years from the irregular issuance of data for various reasons. The new system will enable us to stand on economic developments regularly and systematically.
She added that the ministry developed estimates of the performance indicators for the fourth quarter (Q4) of fiscal year 2015/2016 for only two months. The ministry now works to complete the data for the third month, so that it could issue the economic and social indicators for Q4 of fiscal year 2015/2016.
El-Megharbel announced that the Planning Ministry works with the Finance Ministry and the International Cooperation Ministry as well as with the National Planning Institute and the Korean Institute for Development to replace the budget items with the programme and performance budget.
She said that the implementation of programmes will start with a number of ministries such as health, education, higher education, scientific research, and electricity, according to an action plan for the transfer by next March, given that this procedure has to be completed within the current fiscal year.
She added that applying the programmes and performance budget will have a significant impact on the follow-up of the implementation of projects, as well as on increasing the efficiency of public spending and improving the services provided to citizens.
She concluded that parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee will assist the Ministry of Planning in the implementation of this procedure and make the required legislative amendments to the budget law to comply with the programmes and performance budget.