Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, during his participation in the opening session of the Akhbar Al Youm Conference, called on revising the unemployment rate of 12%, stressing that the actual rate is lower, following the implementation of several national projects that created many jobs.
He noted that the budget deficit this year will reach 9.5-9.6% of GDP.
Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said in previous remarks that the government targets a deficit of 9.5% of GDP, up from 9.1% that was targeted before the beginning of the fiscal year (FY).
Ismail said that the economic reforms taken by the government in the past period have contributed to the increase of foreign direct investment by 15% by the end of past FY.
He added that the reforms have lifted foreign direct investment from $6.9bn to $7.9bn at the end of the last fiscal year.
He further noted that the reform program initiated by the government in 2016 raised growth rates to 4.2%, expecting the rate to reach 5% by the end of the first quarter of the current FY.
He pointed out that the program aims to raise the rates of economic growth and increase employment opportunities and infrastructure development, and the implementation of several national projects.
He said the government had taken a package of social protection measures to ease the burden on low-income people, which comes at a cost of EGP 85bn.
In a press statement on the sidelines of the conference, Ismail said that the S&P report indicating the improvement of Egypt’s rating from stable to positive, in conjunction with similar outlooks from other financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, reflects a significant improvement in the performance of the Egyptian economy.
S&P had revised the outlook for Egypt to positive from stable and maintained its sovereign credit rating at B-.
Ismail added that the assessment of the public debt is linked to growth rates and GDP, both of which are currently improving. He also said that some projects are financed through foreign lending, and this is normal, because the performance rate of the current Egyptian economy, and the implementation of projects, are double the previous rates, therefore the debts do not pose any risks.
Ismail assserted that the economic measures taken by the government were necessary, saying that it was time to confront the problems facing the economy with realistic solutions. “We need the help of citizens in understanding the circumstances, the president’s support, and the parliament’s backing.”