Egypt tar­gets 5% eco­nomic growth by 2018

Govt plans to cre­ate ‘real, pro­duc­tive jobs’

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Egypt tar­gets a five per­cent eco­nomic growth rate in the year to June 2018, the fi­nance min­istry said yes­ter­day as the govern­ment seeks to re­vive an econ­omy bat­tered by po­lit­i­cal tur­moil.

Egyp­tian au­thor­i­ties have bat­tled high unem­ploy­ment, in­fla­tion and a col­lapse in tourism in­come since the 2011 up­ris­ing that top­pled for­mer pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak. Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi, Egypt’s first elected civil­ian pres­i­dent, vowed to get the econ­omy back on track af­ter his elec­tion the fol­low­ing year.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the fi­nance min­istry said it aimed to “raise growth for 2017/2018 to five per­cent” and to cre­ate “real, pro­duc­tive jobs that help lower unem­ploy­ment to 11 per­cent and raise cit­i­zens’ in­comes.” Con­sumers have been hit by surg­ing price hikes since Novem­ber when Cairo floated its cur­rency and slashed fuel sub­si­dies as part of an eco­nomic re­form pack­age linked to a $12 bil­lion In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund loan.

The Egyp­tian pound had been pegged at 8.83 to the dol­lar, but has since weak­ened to more than 19 pounds to the dol­lar. Egypt’s in­fla­tion rate jumped to 19.4 per­cent in Novem­ber from 13.6 per­cent the pre­vi­ous month, ac­cord­ing to the cen­tral bank.

De­spite its woes, the govern­ment has pro­jected 5.2 per­cent GDP growth in the year to June 2017. Eco­nomic out­put grew 4.3 per­cent in the year to June 2016, the min­istry of plan­ning said in Novem­ber.

The fi­nance min­istry hopes to bring un­em­ploy­men­twhich of­fi­cially stood at 12.6 per­cent from July to Septem­ber — down to 11 per­cent in the year to June 2018. The min­istry said it also wants to cut its bud­get deficit to 9.5 per­cent of GDP in the year to June 2018, down from 12.2 per­cent the pre­vi­ous year.

It said it hopes to cut public debt to 94 per­cent of GDP in the year to June 2018, with a medium-term tar­get of 80 per­cent. “The govern­ment will con­tinue to im­ple­ment a struc­tural re­forms pack­age to sup­port pro­duc­tive sec­tors es­pe­cially in­dus­try and ex­ports, while at­tract­ing in­vest­ments,” the min­istry said.

It said it would press ahead with im­ple­ment­ing a value added tax and “poli­cies to ra­tio­nalise spend­ing.” — AFP

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Balkh Prov­ince, Afghanistan: In this pho­to­graph taken on Satur­day an Afghan la­borer packs car­rots on the out­skirts of Mazar-i-Sharif. —AFP

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