CAIRO, June 3 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's budget deficit rose to 9.2 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to 9 per cent during the same period last year, the finance ministry said.
In a monthly report published by the state-run news agency MENA on Thursday, the ministry said that the budget deficit recorded EGP 254.9 billion (around $28.7 billion) during the period between July 2015 and March 2016 compared to EGP 218.3 billion (around $24.6 billion) recorded during the same period last year.
Earlier in May, the ministry valued the budget deficit at EGP 223 billion (7.9 per cent of the GDP) during the first eight months of the fiscal year 2015/2016 compared to EGP 186 billion during the same period last year.
The government expects the deficit for the fiscal year 2015/2016 to be between 11-11.5 per cent as a percentage of the GDP, while it aims to reduce it to 9.9 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year.
The report said total revenues increased by 3.2 per cent to record EGP 291.1 billion compared to EGP 282.1 billion during the same period last year. The ministry attributed the increase to an increase in tax revenues by 3.7 per cent to record EGP 212.4 billion, in addition to an increase in non-tax revenues by 1.9 per cent, which reached EGP 78.7 billion during the surveyed period.
Total expenses increased by 8.7 per cent to reach EGP 533.3 billion during the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to EGP 490.6 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year, according the report.
The report also pointed to an increase in the expenses allocated to salaries and compensation offered to government employees by 8.7 per cent, the lowest increase rate compared to the past three years in the light of the reforms that the ministry has undertaken to control the wage bill.
The government's spending on subsidies, grants and social benefits fell by 20.2 per cent to reach EGP 106.4 billion compared with EGP 133.4 billion during the same period last year in view of the decline in subsidies for petroleum products.
($1 = EGP 8.875)