Experts warn of impact of current budget on poor people
Poor people - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Economic and human rights experts warned of the increase of burden on the poor due to the decrease in the deficit of expenditure, Al-Wafd Newspaper reported Saturday.

Experts denounced that the government does not have an economic vision for the Structure of Public Expenditure, criticizing the weak spending on education and health.

The financial policies of the public budget 2014/2015 will increase the suffering of the poor since it aims to reduce the deficiency expenditure without any social protection measures, according to a study implemented by Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights called Financial Statement of the Country’s General Budget: Austerity procedures to combat crisis at the expense of social justice.

“I cannot ratify such a budget that features more than 300 billion EGP in deficit and surges public debts to more than 2 trillion EGP,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said on June 20 during the graduation ceremony of a new batch of Military Academy cadet.

The study of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) included that the decrease in the deficiency does not exceed 10 percent from the total of the local production and lacks an expanded economic vision and procedures that reduce its negative effect.

Early July, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) revealed in a report that Egypt’s budget deficit was recorded at 163.3 billion EGP ($22 billion) during the current 2013/14 fiscal year, down from 183 billion EGP in 2013.

The amendments by Sisi to reduce the expected deficiency aimed to provide 48 billion EGP, according to Al-Wafd newspaper. However, they have not allocated the sum except for 5.7 billion EGP for the social security network to protect the poor and will be allocated to social insurance pensions.

Regarding the sectors of education and health, spending on health did not exceed 0.2 percent from the total local income of last year to reach 1.8 percent.

The budget of housing projects 2014/2015 reveals that the poor benefit from the allocations of housing subsidy by only 0.5 percent.

The real problem in the national program is the social housing project called “A Million Units,” EIPR expert Yehia Showkat told Al-Wafd. There is not division in the budget to spend on the three projects, which raise doubts about the government’s keenness that its allocations “contribute in achieving social justice for citizens.”

The national program for social housing is one of the largest adopted by the government, including three projects with investments worth 9.5 billion EGP.

A total of 55 percent of Egypt’s news public budget for the Fiscal Year of 2014-15 will be allocated to the social dimensions program, including health, education, scientific research, and developmental projects, Minister of Finance Hany Qadry said last June during his meeting with Ambassador of the European Union in Cairo James Moran.

Qadry announced early July that the total budget deficit rose to 13.7 percent last year 2012/2013 and it is expected to reach 12 percent during the 2013/2014 financial year.

Qadry said the most important of these policies is the redistribution of available resources in favor of the poor and low-income citizens through re-prioritization of public spending.

The increase of prices and reducing the subsidy was in light of fiscal year 2014-2015’s budget, which proposes a deficit rate of 240 billion EGP.

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