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Finance Ministry ignores parliament's economic committee inquiry on private funds: Sherif - Daily News Egypt

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Finance Ministry ignores parliament’s economic committee inquiry on private funds: Sherif

We would like this file to be handled with transparency; non-response to prime minister's letter very serious, raises many questions about these private funds, says representative of parliament’s economic committee

Representative of the economic committee of the House of Representatives, Medhat Sherif, criticised the Ministry of Finance for not responding to a correspondence sent by the prime minister to ministries, state-owned companies, and government universities on their possession of private funds.

Sherif told Daily News Egypt that the economic committee is facing procrastination from the Ministry of Finance in this regard as it was supposed to send these reports to parliament in mid-December 2017, but has not sent them yet, without explanation.

Daily News Egypt had revealed that 532 government agencies ignored Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s letter inquiring about them having private funds, while only 123 bodies replied.

During the past legislative session, the Ministry of Finance sent a report on the existence of 3,965 private accounts and funds at all government agencies and state-owned companies, with a total value of EGP 30.8bn.

Special funds are parallel vessels at ministries or public bodies. They are established by a state decree to receive the proceeds of services, stamps, fines, and other resources to improve services provided by the government. These proceeds do not funnel revenues to the state treasury and are not included in the public budget, and hence, are not subject to parliament’s supervision, but still fall under the jurisdiction of the Accountability State Authority (ASA).

“We want this issue to be handled transparently. Not responding to the prime minister’s letter is very serious and raises many questions about these private funds,” Sherif said.

He added that the House of Representatives wishes to have effective control over the finances in these funds and special accounts.

But MP Talaat Khalil said that this issue is a “tempest in a teacup” since these funds are supervised by the ASA and agencies funnel 20% of their revenues into a collective account at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for the benefit of the Ministry of Finance.

Meanwhile, MP Hussein Eissa said that the private funds cannot be simply cancelled, as they are loaded with more than 100,000 employees, and are also spent on certain activities, such as universities and government hospitals.

A member of the economic committee said that all the funds previously announced by the Ministry of Finance are present at state-owned banks, adding that there are other private funds at commercial banks, owned by some ministries and government agencies, that do not wish to disclose what is in them.

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