2.3 mn jobs were lost during lockdown
Some 2.3 mn jobs were lost during the lockdown in 4Q2019-2020, according to statistics in the Finance Ministry report (pdf) we picked up yesterday. The retail industry sustained the largest number of cutbacks, shedding 624k jobs lost compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. Manufacturing came in second with 569k lost jobs, followed by the food and beverage and hospitality industry (469k), transport and storage (309k), and construction (288k).
Employment is picking up again after the lifting of restrictions: Recent Capmas figures showed that the unemployment rate fell to pre-pandemic levels of 7.3% in 1Q FY2020-2021 after the government eased lockdown restrictions. Joblessness hit a near two-year high of 9.6% during the height of the outbreak in 4Q FY2019-2020. .
MEANWHILE- Public spending on fuel subsidies continues to fall in FY2020-2021: The government continued to cut back on fuel subsidies in 1Q FY2020-2021, reducing spending by 46% to EGP 3.9 bn from EGP 7.25 bn in the same period a year earlier, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters, according to Sky News. The minister’s statements came a day after the Finance Ministry revealed that the total subsidy spend last year fell 77% to just EGP 18.6 bn. This is far below the EGP 52.96 bn the government had originally envisioned spending during the year, helped no doubt by the collapse in oil prices due to the pandemic earlier this year.
Since 2014, the government has gradually reduced fuel subsidies as part of its drive to rein in spending and put its finances on a sustainable path. Some EGP 28.1 bn has been allocated towards fuel subsidies in the FY2020-2021 budget, almost EGP 10 bn higher than the government spent last year.