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Govt makes 3 major economic decisions during election

During the presidential election, the government issued three major economic decisions, approving the new budget, cutting subsidies, and halting imports of tuk tuks, various media reports said on Thursday.

On Sunday evening, the Cabinet quietly approved interim President Adly Mansour’s draft budget for the 2014/15 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

According to existing legislation, the budget should be presented to the legislature for approval 90 days before the beginning of the new fiscal year. In the absence of a parliament, civil society groups called for the public release of a draft budget, in order to allow for public review. However, the Cabinet elected to send the budget directly to the president for approval.

The budget for the upcoming year calls for LE807 billion in public spending, a 10 percent increase from the previous year, according to the statement.

As part of the newly-approved budget, the government will cut down on various aspects of public spending, including subsidies for energy, housing, agriculture, health insurance and medication.

Subsidies for petroleum products would be cut from last year’s LE134.2 billion to LE104.5 billion. Subsidies in the agricultural sector will also drop from LE4.5 billion to LE3.3 billion.

Housing subsidies will decrease to 50 percent of last year’s rate, standing at LE150 million. Health insurance subsidies would drop to LE811 million compared to last year’s LE1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, subsidies for basic commodities, transportation and drinking water remain unchanged from last year.

Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour also decided this week to halt the imports of tuk tuks for one year.

Considered to be a major means of transportation in impoverished and underdeveloped Cairo suburbs, Nour said that the decision aims at limiting the uncontrolled expansion of tuk tuks, considering them dangerous to the general security situation. He added that tuk tuks, mostly unlicensed, are used in criminal acts, and are not secure means of transportation.

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