November 23, 2018 / 2:20 PM / 21 days ago

Egypt on track to achieve its financial targets: finance minister

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s state revenues grew by 35.5 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal year, putting the government on track to achieve its targeted primary budget surplus of 2 percent, the finance minister said on Friday.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Government investment rose 85 percent while tax collection increased by 39.8 percent, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement.

“These positive results for the first quarter of the current fiscal year affirm Egypt’s ability to achieve its financial targets for the budget for the current fiscal year,” the minister said.

Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.

Primary budget figures do not factor in interest payments on government debt.

Maait attributed the positive results to Egypt’s economic reforms program, part of an IMF loan deal signed in 2016.

Under the IMF deal Egypt devalued its currency and has been gradually cutting fuel subsidies, putting the finances of tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.

Egypt is pushing ahead with the economic reforms which it sees as essential in attracting foreign investment.

The budget deficit in the first quarter of the current fiscal year was down slightly to 1.9 percent from 2 percent last year, the minister previously said.

Egypt’s economy was hit hard in the turbulent years that followed a 2011 popular uprising which toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The political unrest scared away many tourists and foreign investors, but recently the economy has showed signs of recovery.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Lena Masri; editing by Sami Aboudi and Toby Chopra

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