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Pandemic lowers 2019/20 target growth to 4%: Finance Minister - Daily News Egypt

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Pandemic lowers 2019/20 target growth to 4%: Finance Minister

Total of EGP 63bn used to support health sector, groups most affected since pandemic’s beginning

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has resulted in GDP declining EGP 130bn and lowering target growth for current fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 to 4%, according to Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait.

Maait said the tax and non-tax revenue also dropped by EGP 124bn on the back of the severe economic fallout of the global pandemic.

He noted that a total of EGP 63bn has been used to support the health sector and groups most affected since the beginning of the crisis. The aid was taken out of the EGP 100bn coronavirus emergency fund set aside by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to cushion the pandemic impact on Egypt.

Maait said additional financial allocations of about EGP 11bn were made available to support the health sector. The added funding will help the sector meet the urgent needs for medicines and medical supplies to enable precautionary measures

An annual allocation of EGP 400m has been set aside to employ 7,000 teaching assistants at university medical faculties. The allocation will also see them take on work in university hospitals, alongside the 1,200 doctors at educational hospitals.

An additional EGP 2.6bn was allocated to raise by 75% the risk exposure allowance for medical staff.

Maait noted that the industrial sector has been given EGP 16.6bn in support to face the repercussions of the global pandemic. This was in addition to a reduction in natural gas prices from $5.5 to $4.5 per BTU, and the price of electricity reduced by 10%, alongside the three month deferral of the real estate tax.

The government has also invested EGP 3bn in the Export Development Fund, whilst also securing EGP 5bn to support the civil aviation and tourism sectors. It has also raised its investments by an additional EGP 10bn.

Maait said that EGP 6bn was allocated to the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to purchase additional quantities of imported wheat amounting to 1.6 million tonnes. A further EGP 3bn has been procured for irregular labour, and EGP 3bn for an urgent plan to pave internal roads in various governorates.

The Ministry of Education has been allocated EGP 450m to finance its precautionary measures.

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