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Social protection allocations rise to 22.6% of public expenditures in 2020/21: Finance Minister - Daily News Egypt

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Social protection allocations rise to 22.6% of public expenditures in 2020/21: Finance Minister

EGP 7bn has been allocated for treatment programme at state's expense

Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait revealed that allocations for support and social protection programmes rose to 22.6% of total public expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2020/21.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, on Saturday, Maait said that the new allocation compares to the 21% allocated in FY 2019/20. At the same time, the allocations for commodity support programmes amounted to EGP 115.1bn, of which EGP 84.5bn went to subsidise commodities.

He affirmed that citizens are reaping the fruits of Egypt’s economic reforms, through a larger and more effective umbrella of social protection.

Maait said that about 69.7 million citizens benefit from subsidised bread and flour in warehouses, with 63.5 million citizens benefiting from the subsidies provided by ration cards. He added that a package of measures has been added that contributes to improving the financial conditions of state workers, at an additional wage cost of EGP 34bn.

Maait said that his ministry provides the necessary allocations to finance many initiatives aimed at raising the standard of living, such as the “A Decent Life” presidential initiative.

The minister explained that the state is continuing to implement presidential initiatives aimed at supporting the health system, developing service performance, and providing decent medical care to Egyptians.

He noted that, in the current general budget, EGP 7bn has been allocated for the treatment programme at the state’s expense. A further EGP 1.1bn has been allocated to pay for the contributions of those unable to join the insurance system. This comes in addition to EGP 800m to support health insurance for students, women who are their family’s breadwinner, as well as children under school age, and farmers.

Maait confirmed that the current budget for FY 2020/21 also includes EGP 3.5bn which will see natural gas delivered to 1.3 million families. Allocations for the social housing programme have increased to EGP 21bn in the current budget, compared to about EGP 11bn in the FY 2015/16 budget.

He added that the allocations included for social security assistance and the Takaful and Karama programme in the current budget amounted to about EGP 19bn. Any additional financial appropriations are being met during the actual implementation of this programme, compared to EGP 11.2bn in the FY 2015/16 budget.

About 100,000 families have been added to the programme since the beginning of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A total of EGP 4.3bn has been transferred to the Ministry of Manpower, for the disbursal of an exceptional grant for irregular workers.

He said that the state’s public treasury has finished paying EGP 245.5bn to the National Insurance and Pensions Authority within 18 months. The payment was made to ensure the provision of the necessary financial liquidity to serve pensioners, their beneficiaries, and the insured, and fulfil all of their obligations.

Maait noted that the state treasury is bearing EGP 35bn for the cost and impact of including the five bonuses for pensioners this year, as well as about EGP 8bn annually, which the National Insurance and Pensions Authority pays to pensioners. This is reflected in the annual instalments paid by the Ministry of Finance annually.

He added that the state treasury also bears the value of the five bonuses set for pensioners as of last July. At the same time, the minister confirmed the government’s keenness to implement the directives laid out by the Egyptian leadership to strive to improve the living conditions of pensioners.

“We are continuing to pay the financial obligations set for the National Insurance and Pensions Authority as part of the disengagement agreement in the coming years, and it is decided that the annual instalment transferred from the state’s public treasury during the next fiscal year is about EGP 180bn,” he concluded.

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