CAIRO: Egypt will launch a licensing system for fourth generation (4G) mobile telecommunication technology next year as a step to increase state revenues and shrink the budget deficit, Minister of Finance Hani Kadry said Friday.
At a London conference to promote investing in Egypt, Kadry told state-run MENA news that the government’s plan to shrink the budget deficit will entail first stabilizing the budget deficit, currently at 14 percent of GDP, and then launching the 4G technology licenses.
“The second phase focuses on an attempt to make [the deficit] reach between 10-11 percent of GDP at the end of the current fiscal year through increasing the state’s revenues,” he was quoted as saying.
However, applying 4G technology in Egypt may be difficult, as not all 3G services are currently being used by Mobinil, Etsalat and Vodafone, the country’s three mobile phone operators, Deputy Head of the Scientific Society of Telecom Engineering (SSTE) Talaat Omar told The Cairo Post Friday.
All mobile phone operators have 3G licenses, and value-added services which require a good substructure to activate such services, but Egypt lacks this kind of substructure, he added.
At the London conference, organized by Beltone Financial, Kadry noted that the deficit will be decreased due to use of measures like fuel smart cards, and a 5-percent tax on high income earners for three years, Reuters reported.
On April 29, Kadry announced during a phone call with the CBC television channel that Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to hit between 14-14.5 percent of GDP by the end of the current fiscal year, totaling between 340 billion EGP to 350 billion EGP.
Additional reporting to Yasmine Samra