Egypt's budget deficit has increased by 50.5 percent to reach LE186 billion (8 percent of Gross Domestic Product GDP) during July-February 2014/2015, compared to LE123.6 billion (6.2 percent of GDP) during July-February 2013/2014, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday.
The monthly financial bulletin for March 2015 explained that the main reason behind the growing budget deficit was the 84.7 percent decrease in grants from Gulf countries, which reached LE7.9 billion in the first eight months of 2014/15, compared to about LE51.4 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Total revenues reached LE208.1 billion during July-February 2014/2015, declining by 18 percent compared to the same period last year, due to the fall in grants and Income Tax revenues by 84.7 percent and 28.2 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, total expenditures reached LE385 billion, increasing by 3.2 percent, compared to the same period last year.
The increase in expenditures was mainly due to the rise in interest payments by LE10.5 billion (11 percent increase), to reach a total of LE105.9 billion.
At the same time, subsidies, grants and social benefits declined 28.5 percent in the first eight months of 2014/15, to reach a total of LE87.2 billion.
Finance Minister Hany Qadry Demian announced on Monday that Egypt's spending on fuel subsidies in the first half of the fiscal year 2014-2015 reached LE44.8 billion, 30.5 percent less than in the same period of the previous year.
The government also plans to cut its subsidy bill by 80‐90 percent in the next five years, according to Demian.