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UPDATE 1-Egypt's cabinet approves 2017/18 budget, targeting 9.1 percent deficit
March 29, 2017 / 12:50 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt's cabinet approves 2017/18 budget, targeting 9.1 percent deficit

(Adds budget details)

CAIRO, March 29 (Reuters) - Egypt’s cabinet approved the 2017/18 budget on Wednesday, targeting a 9.1 percent deficit for the year, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said.

The government expects the deficit for the current year, ending June 30, to be between 10.5 percent and 10.7 percent, against 12.2 percent last fiscal year.

The 2017/18 budget targets 4.6 percent growth for the year and revenues are expected to reach 818 billion Egyptian pounds ($45.17 billion), Garhy told a news conference after the cabinet meeting. Revenues from taxes are expected to reach 604 billion pounds, while other revenues will amount to 214 billion pounds.

A statement from the Finance Ministry later stated that overall revenues will amount to 830 billion pounds.

Garhy also said interest on debt would reach 380 billion pounds, up from 304 billion pounds in the current year.

Egypt is struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors - two major sources of foreign currency.

In November the central bank abandoned its currency peg of 8.8 per dollar in a move aimed to unlock foreign inflows and secure a $12 billion three-year International Monetary Fund program to support the government’s effort to reduce its budget deficit and balance Egypt’s currency market.

Egypt successfully sold $4 billion in Eurobonds in January, raising twice as much as it initially targeted and at lower yields than expected.

Garhy said on Wednesday the country’s financing plan for the coming year will include a return to international markets by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

He said the budget would assume an oil price of $55 per barrel, and an exchange rate of 16 pounds per dollar.

Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said the budget will be sent to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and then to parliament by Friday, according to the constitution.

Parliament can either approve it or send it back to the government. If parliament approves the budget it will be signed into law by the president.

$1 = 18.1100 Egyptian pounds writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Dominic Evans

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