Magdy Abdel Aziz, head of the Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA), said that the customs outcome had jumped by 22% after the decision to liberalise the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar on 3 November.
Abdel Aziz added that the ETA aims to collect about EGP 29.4bn of customs by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017, compared to EGP 27.2bn by the end of FY 2015/2016.
Egyptian imports are estimated at $80bn, compared to exports less than $22bn annually, which increases the burdens of the trade balance.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said earlier in a press release that Egypt’s imports of goods fell by $7bn during the first nine months of 2016, whereas exports increased by $1bn.
The chairperson of the authority stressed that the authority only collected 70% of the total targeted amount, equivalent to EGP 15bn, during the first half of FY 2016/2017 which ended in December 2016. This came as a result of the decline in imports after the decision to increase custom fees on a group of goods.
Abdel Aziz expected the impact of the pound’s flotation which set the pound’s value to EGP 18 compared to EGP 8.88 before the flotation, to be clear during the second half of FY 2016/2017.
He said that fixing the custom dollar exchange rate is not currently being considered.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decision to increase the custom fees on about 320 commodities by 50% on average in order to regulate import operations.
Abdel Aziz stressed that increasing the custom tariff has taken into consideration the free trade agreements between Egypt, the European Union, Arab countries, and Turkey. He expected the outcome of this decision to bring EGP 6bn of import volume.