Egypt to cut subsidies, increase taxes: PM
Egypt’s new prime minister, appointed in the summer, said Sunday his government was finalizing a package of economic reforms to boost tax revenue and cut consumer subsidies and that he would present a draft to the president next week.
Hisham Kandil told Reuters in an interview the government planned to direct energy subsidies more effectively, issuing coupons or smart cards to the poor for butane cooking gas by mid-October and cutting subsidies on 95-octane gasoline in coming months.
“We want to increase our revenue. To do so we need to look at our taxation system so it covers more people, not necessarily that we tax more. But it would be better to tax more people,” he said. “We’ll try to get them into the formal economy, and we will do that very soon.”
Egypt last month requested a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the post-revolutionary country trudges through economic dire straits.
During 18 months of political turmoil since the overthrow of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, successive Egyptian governments negotiated with the IMF to secure emergency funding.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which the current president hails, was originally skeptical of the IMF loan, which it feared would undermine Egypt’s sovereignty by keeping it indebted to the IMF.
Dozens of Egyptians took to the streets to protest the move which they said was antithetical to a revolution that aimed to unshackle the chains of foreign intervention.