CAIRO: Egypt’s Finance Minister said Sunday spending on energy subsidies next year would be 10-12 percent above the 130 billion Egyptian pounds ($18.66 billion) budgeted for the current fiscal year, unless immediate reforms were made. Successive governments have stressed the importance of reducing energy subsidies, which account for more than 20 percent of state spending, but none have taken concrete steps to do so.
Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian did not say whether any reforms would be implemented during the next fiscal year that begins in July, according to state news agency MENA.
Dimian said restructuring of the subsidy system needed to involve price increases and “rationalizing distribution quotas.”
A growing population and a decline in the pound have steadily pushed up the subsidy bill in the past two years.
Last year’s energy subsidy bill was more than 120 billion Egyptian pounds ($17.22 billion), up from 115 billion the previous year.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 31, 2014, on page 5.