Egyptian MPs criticize rising public debt to LE 5 trillion, warn of corruption
The Egyptian cabinet and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development were criticized Monday by Egyptian lawmakers for increasing the country’s public debt to LE 5,000 billion.
Critics, who also included frustration with the failure of the cabinet to exploit foreign grants and spend in the health and education sectors, came after Economic Development Minister Hala al-Saeed made a statement to the House of Representatives plenary session on Monday.
Deputy Secretary of the Parliamentary Planning and Budget Committee Mostafa Salem said the committee had rejected numerous loans, with the government’s public debt reaching LE 5,000 billion, of which LE 1,100 billion was foreign debt. . He added that the Ministry of International Cooperation has signed 151 loans, of which 32 are blocked grants and nine others that are not used.
He asked for an explanation as to who was responsible.
MP Freddy al-Bayady criticized the government’s lack of commitment to spend in accordance with constitutionally mandated budgets in the health and education sectors in Egypt, seeing it as a crime against the country.
Bayady also said that what the cabinet announced about the poverty rate falling below 29% was false.
“It’s a shame not to announce the facts, because the whole world is suffering. A study by the National Planning Institute last May confirmed that the poverty rate is 44%, ”he said.
“Egypt’s rank in the fight against corruption is 117 out of 180 countries,” Bayady said, warning that corruption engulfs all rates of development.
Wafd Party MP Suleiman Wahdan said the grants are a big source of corruption, as many associations and ministries receive grants that are not used, and no one seems to know anything about them.
During the session, Saeed presented the sources of financing of development plans and programs in cooperation between the ministry and the private sector, civil society organizations and regional and international sovereign wealth funds, through the creation of the Sovereign Fund. Egyptian.
Saeed confirmed that the economy reached a growth rate of 3.6% in the previous fiscal year, with Egypt among the few countries to have recorded positive growth during the coronavirus pandemic. She pointed out that the economy is expected to achieve a growth rate of 5.8%.
She said the annual unemployment rate fell from 13% in 2014 to 7.9% in 2019, the inflation rate fell to 5.7% in 2019/2020, its lowest level in 14 years, and the poverty rate fell for the first time since 1999 to 29.7% against 32.5% in 2017/2018.
Egypt’s position in global indicators, such as roads and electricity, has also improved, Saeed said, noting that the Committee for the Regulation and Limitation of Foreign Borrowing has rejected and postponed 45% of 85 loan applications.
Edited translation of Al-Masry Al-Youm