Egypt's subsidies in July, August nearly triple in year-on-year rise

Saturday 28-11-2015 06:06 PM
Egypt's subsidies in July, August nearly triple in year-on-year rise

Employees speak on phones at an exchange office in downtown Cairo June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh


By Hend Kortam

CAIRO, Nov. 28 (Aswat Masriya) - Subsidies in July and August 2015 cost the Egyptian government EGP 15.8 billion, a whopping 300 percent increase from the EGP 5.3 billion in subsidies paid in the same months in 2014, the state's statistics agency CAPMAS said on Saturday.

CAPMAS said in a press release that the General Authority for Supply Commodities, which buys staples like wheat on behalf of the state, has dominated subsidy allowances, accounting for EGP 8.3 billion, double the spend of EGP 4.4 billion last year.

A sum of EGP 6.7 billion in subsidies was reported under a category titled "other". This is more than eight times the amount of EGP 0.8 reported in this section last year.

Government financial institutions also took up EGP 0.8 billion, again eight times as much as they did in those two month last year.

In July 2014, the Egyptian government reduced petroleum subsidies and introduced new taxes, hiking fuel prices by up to 78 percent. 

This decrease in subsidies was among a string of austerity measures introduced by President Abdel Fattah in the first month of his presidency. His administration has largely focused on reviving the economy.

More recently, in January 2015, the government announced that it will not be subsidising next season's cotton produce.

Credit ratings agency Moody's listed in a report earlier this month several challenges facing the Egyptian government including "large financing needs, structural economic issues ... and elevated political risks."

Egypt's economy has been hit hard by the political turmoil gripping the country since a popular uprising toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011. Foreign exchange reserves have fallen by more than half since 2011 when they were valued at $36 billion before the uprising.

Amid the continued pressure on foreign reserves, Egypt has had to depreciate its currency multiple times this year, with forecasts on the inevitability of further devaluations. 

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