Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to rise to E£200bn ($28.8bn), or 11.5% of GDP for 2012-13, Investment Minister Yahya Hamid says. This is 7.8% above the official “revised” 2012-13 (July ’12-June ’13) projection of E£185.5bn ($26.7bn). IMF spokesman Gerry Rice says the fund is working with Egypt to ensure that the long-discussed $4.8bn standby arrangement will address “the rising fiscal and balance of payments imbalance.” But former deputy prime minister Hazim al-Biblawi believes that the IMF will not finalize the $4.8bn deal until the government submits a plan to lower the budget deficit.

New Egyptian Finance Minister Fayyad ‘Abd al-Mun’im says his ministry will issue directives to all public sector administrations to abide by regulations to rationalize expenditure in the remaining two months of the current fiscal year. Latest official statistics indicate Egypt’s fiscal deficit for the first nine months of the financial year was E£175.9bn ($25.3bn), 10.1% of GDP. The figure for subsidies, grants and social benefits was E£116.7bn ($16.8bn): on a pro rata basis actually lower than the revised annual budget figure of E£182.8bn ($26.3bn). (CONTINUED - 289 WORDS)