The planning and budget committee of parliament is to demand the government increase the allocations for the education, health, and scientific research sectors in the draft budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018/2019.
The deputy head of the committee, Yasser Omar, said that there was a meeting held with Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din, as well as a meeting with Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdul Ghaffar to discuss the allocations for their ministries. A meeting will soon be held with the minister of education.
“The committee has not determined the increase in the allocations for the three sectors yet. The committee members are demanding an increase in light of a constitutional stipulation that involves the government’s commitment to allocate 10% of GDP to the three sectors in each year’s budget,” Omar added.
The allocations of the education, health, and research sectors will reach EGP 177bn next year, with EGP 115.6bn allocated for the Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research, in addition to EGP 61.8bn for the Health Ministry.
The constitution stipulates that the allocations of the three sectors should represent 10% of GDP, without specifying the basis of the calculation.
The government raised the allocations for higher education and scientific research, and education for the next FY by EGP 8.6bn to reach EGP 115bn compared to EGP 107bn in the current budget. The allocations for the health sector increased by EGP 7bn to reach EGP 61.8bn compared to EGP 54bn this fiscal year.
Education allocations for the next FY fell to 8.1% of total expenditure, compared to 8.7% this FY. The health sector allocations declined to 4.3% compared to 4.4% during this FY.
Haitham El-Hariry, a member of parliament’s health committee, said that the government must abide by the constitution in terms of the allocations for the three sectors. The allocations for the health sector and university hospitals should not be considered part of the expenditures of the health sector.
He added that abiding by the constitution obliges the government to increase the allocations of the health sector to at least EGP 120bn this FY, rather than to EGP 54bn.
He said that the health committee will issue a report on Tuesday regarding the required increases for the various sectors which can enable hospitals to develop and advance.
El-Hariry said he believes that increasing the allocation for the health sector next FY is necessary in light of applying the comprehensive health insurance law starting from July in some governorates. Increasing the amount will reduce the enforcement period of the law in all governorates, making it less than 15 years.
The government aims to complete enforcing the health insurance law in all governorates across the country by 2032, at a cost of over EGP 600bn.
The Ministry of Health has completed pricing medical services at government hospitals in Port Said, in preparation for enforcing the law in that governorate in July.
The cost of implementing the law in Port Said is expected to reach EGP 6bn. The ministry is currently working to develop 32 primary health care units, equipping 10 government hospitals, and three private hospitals in order to obtain quality accreditation.
Osama Abdel Hay, the undersecretary of the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate, said that approving any increases in the allocations of the health sector in the state’s general budget is something that is welcomed if it means improving the medical services provided to citizens.
Abdel Hay told Daily News Egypt that there are estimations pointing out the importance of making health allocations near EGP 100bn instead of EGP 61bn in the current budget, especially in light of the government’s enforcement of the new comprehensive insurance law.
Abdel Hay also demanded enforcing the constitution’s stipulation and allocating 3% of GDP for the Health Ministry.