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Monday, 24 February 2020

FinMin to cut debt-to-GDP ratio to 79% next fiscal year -Maait

BUDGET WATCH- FinMin adopts more ambitious debt-to-GDP targets in coming fiscal year: The Finance Ministry will aim to lower Egypt’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 79% during FY2020-2021, Minister Mohamed Maait said on the sidelines of a conference yesterday, Hapi Journal reports. The new figure is more ambitious than targets announced in the ministry’s preliminary budget statement in November, which forecast debt-to-GDP falling to 80%. The statement revealed that the ministry expects GDP to grow at a 6.4% clip in the coming fiscal year, up from a projected 6% in FY2019-2020. The jury is still out over whether the government will meet this year’s target: Preliminary figures announced last week showed that the economy grew at a slower 5.6% clip during the first six months of the fiscal year.

EXCLUSIVE- The ministry is also planning to reduce its ceiling for Egypt’s external debt-to-GDP ratio to 30% in the medium term, down from 37% in FY2018-2019, according to official documents reviewed by Enterprise. The ceiling will be reviewed and adjusted on an annual basis according to economic developments. The government began implementing last March a comprehensive debt strategy, which includes moving towards longer-term debt and imposing a cap on eurobond issuances.

Fertilizers could be subject to automatic pricing mechanism now, too: Separately, the ministry is working with the IMF to draft a strategy to boost government revenues. The proposals currently under study include pegging the cost of fertilizers to global prices — which the government began doing with oil prices last year — while creating a transitional safety net for small-scale farmers that own less than five feddans. The government would provide these farmers with financial support for three years, and would gradually reduce the amount handed out each year. The financing package is expected to cost EGP 5 bn, according to the documents.

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