Finance Ministry to allocate LE13.5 bn to EGPC

The Finance Ministry has earmarked LE13.5 billion for the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) in the new state budget to help the company fulfill its financial obligations, Minister of Finance Samir Radwan said.

At a meeting with representatives of political parties on Saturday to discuss the new state budget for the fiscal year 2011/2012, Radwan said that subsidies, especially those for energy, are a huge drain on resources. He added that subsidies that do not reach their target groups should be eliminated.

Speaking on Egyptian natural gas exports, Radwan said that Egypt should not have exported any of its gas. He added that there is a trend of establishing a professional institution to run economic organizations, pointing to a similar case in Malaysia.

"We are not Portugal, Spain or Greece, to introduce an austerity plan. Nevertheless, there is a need to rationalize government expenditure," he said.

He added that the government is working on issuing a law that allows figures from the former regime who did not commit crimes mentioned in the penal code to pay back the public money they acquired through illegal means in order to remain in their positions.

He also added that the real estate tax law would be reviewed, with consideration given to raising the threshhold at which property tax should be paid, such that any property worth less than LE1 million would be exempt. According to current legislation, the threshhold stands at LE500,000.

He added that the law would also be amended to overcome other defects, such as the rule requiring the owner of a single property worth LE500,000 to pay taxes, yet exempts another who owns 20 properties, each worth LE100,000, from paying tax.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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