As soon as the local harvest is delivered, Egypt will have enough wheat reserves to meet its needs for eight months, said Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait.
The government will also import wheat from alternative markets to meet the current exceptional circumstances caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Egypt imports 80 per cent of its wheat needs from two main markets — 50 per cent from Russia and 30 per cent from Ukraine
Mait, who addressed the tension caused by Russia-Ukraine war, in a meeting with the heads of national media and press authorities and editors-in-chief of national and private newspapers and media outlets, said Egypt must “plant and produce all crops and products we need to increase our productive capabilities in order to avoid relying on importing from external markets in the time being and, consequently, import inflation.”
The meeting was attended by Karam Gabr, the head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR); Abdel-Sadek El-Shorbagy, the head of the National Press Authority (NPA); and Diaa Rashwan, the head of the Journalists Syndicate and chairman of the State Information Service (SIS).
Since Ukraine and Russia are two of the biggest wheat producers in the world, countries are at risk of a disruption in global wheat trade and an increase in wheat prices.
Maait said on Sunday that the spike in wheat prices in international markets will increase the price of Egypt’s wheat imports – a strategic commodity for millions of citizens – by around 12 to 15 billion Egyptian pounds.
Mohamed Moselhi, minister of supply and internal trade, says that Egyptian farmers will increase production by two million tonnes to 5.5 million tonnes this season in order to compensate for disruptions in global trade.
In Egypt, the wheat harvest season begins in mid-April.
As a result of the global and local effects of the conflict in Ukraine, Maait noted that the government’s targets might need to be revised for the next fiscal year 2022/23, which begins on 1 July.
Egypt is targeting 5.7 percent GDP growth in FY2022/23 and six percent in FY2024/25, which are above the country’s pre-pandemic growth of 5.6 percent in FY2019/20.
The government also plans to increase the initial budget surplus to two percent, up from 1.5 percent for FY2021/22, and to reduce the overall budget deficit to 6.1 percent in FY2022/23, with a goal of falling to 5.1 percent in FY2024/25.
Considering the ongoing challenges, Maait said the government could revisit the target of 6.7% for FY2021/22.
Additionally, the government wants to lower the gross debt to GDP ratio below 90 percent by FY2022/23, and to less than 82.5 percent by FY2024/25, and to reduce the debt service to less than 30 percent of total expenditures by FY2022/23.
“We continue to increase spending on health and education as the main pillar of human development,” Maait told the attendees. “Egypt is keen to expand the application of the new Comprehensive Health Insurance system in the governorates to alleviate the financial burden of dealing with illness off citizens’ shoulders.
“Our experience has succeeded in Port Said and Luxor and during the coming period, we are ready to extend the umbrella of the new system to Ismailia, Suez, and Aswan,” he affirmed.
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