CAIRO, May 5 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's budget deficit was valued at EGP 223 billion during the first eight months of the 2015/2016 fiscal year compared to EGP 186 billion during the same period of time last year, the ministry of finance said on Thursday.
The ministry said in its monthly report that the state's budget deficit makes up 7.9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to 7.7 per cent of GDP during the same period last year.
The rise in the deficit comes amid a general rise in expenses that reached 21 per cent with a value of EGP 466.2 billion and a corresponding rise in revenues by 21.7 per cent reaching a value of EGP 253.2 billion.
Servicing the debt assumed the bulk of the increase in expenses, as it increased by 44.7 per cent ,compared to the same time last year, to reach EGP 153.2 billion.
Wages, on the other hand, recorded "the lowest increase over the past three years in light of attempts to control the wage bill," the ministry of finance stated.
Spending on subsides increased by 24.2 per cent to reach a value of EGP 97 billion as a result of increased spending on consumer goods, electricity and pension funds.
Regarding revenues, the ministry of finance said the increase was partly due to a rise in tax revenues by 22.1 per cent to reach EGP 182.8 billion from July to February of the current fiscal year, while the non-tax revenues increased by 20.6 per cent.
The government expects the budget deficit for the fiscal year 2015/2016 to be between 11-11.5 per cent, while it targets to reduce the deficit to 9.9 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year.
Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has already approved the 2016/2017 draft budget in March and sent it to parliament for approval, Reuters reported.