House passes FY2018-19 budget
The House of Representatives signed off on the FY2018-19 budget during yesterday’s general assembly session, Reuters reports. The budget, which still needs to be accepted and signed into law by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, targets a deficit of 8.4% of GDP and a primary deficit surplus of 2%. It also sees increased spending on health and education and more focused spending on social welfare as the government moves to slash fuel and energy subsidies further at the start of the new fiscal year. You can read our refresher here. The new budget comes into effect on 1 July.
House approves hike in government service fees: In other news from the House, the general assembly voted yesterday to approve a hike in government service fees and introduce new levies on mobile phone users, Youm7 reports. Administrative fees for services such as issuing passports, residency papers, work permits, and driving licenses have been bumped up. Additional charges on mobile phone users include an EGP 10 fee to be tacked onto monthly bills, according to AMAY. New mobile phone lines will set you back a total EGP 70 once the hike comes into effect at the start of FY2018-19, according to Al Mal.
Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee approved proposed amendments to the real estate tax that would tax the sale of inherited property, which the newspaper says had previously been untaxed. The changes, which were proposed by Rep. Mervat Alexan, would still need Cabinet approval to move forward. Some House reps. suggested that the sale of inherited property by the poor be tax exempt.
The Budget Committee also decided to postpone its final vote on a draft law that would exempt cleaning supplies from VAT, Al Shorouk reports.