August salaries for all employees of Egyptian diplomatic missions abroad have been delayed due to lack of funds, according to a Foreign Ministry diplomatic cable dispatched to embassies that was obtained by Mada Masr.
The cable, signed by the general director of the Foreign Ministry’s payroll department, Emad Samir, does not say when the salaries will be issued, but tells employees not to cash in their salary checks until advised to.
The Foreign Ministry is currently looking into amending the salary system for diplomats and embassy employees so that half of salaries would be issued in Egypt in Egyptian pounds and handed over to the employee after they have completed their mission abroad, according to a source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.
There are 162 Egyptian diplomatic missions and consulates abroad and they employ around 531 diplomats, in addition to a team of administrative employees.
According to the Foreign Ministry budget discussed by Parliament’s foreign affairs committee in June, the total funds allocated toward employees’ salaries is LE437.858 million for the 2016/2017 budget — a 9.7 percent increase from last year’s budget. According to unofficial estimates, LE500 million is directed toward diplomatic missions on an annual basis.
Egypt is currently undergoing a severe dollar shortage and pressure on its foreign reserves due to decreasing revenues from the tourism industry, the Suez Canal, and rate of foreign investment and increase of imports versus exports.
The US-based Bloomberg News agency reported last week that unemployment in Egypt had risen to 13 percent, the budget deficit reached 12 percent of GDP, and foreign exchange reserves decreased to US$15.6 billion as of July.