Files: National Budget
Today, March 31st, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights published the English translation of its periodic report on external debt, titled “External Debt rises again in 2020 and Coronavirus is not the only reason”. The report that was published in Arabic in August 2021 is the most recent issue of the series on foreign debt, which has been published by EIPR since 2017. It shows that Egypt’s external debts jumped in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This requirement constitutes an encroachment on the concepts of "energy poverty" and "energy justice", because it drains energy resources for the benefit of these factories at the expense of making them available to Egyptian families, especially the poorest. It also contradicts the Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030: "Clean energy at affordable prices", because it sells polluting energy to factories at lower prices than they are, thus impeding the shift towards clean energy.
Egypt has missed that opportunity, so far, according to the paper published by EIPR, on October the 17th, titled: "Four flaws: Assessing the Egyptian-IMF energy subsidies reform". The publication coincides with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The paper depends on the principle: "clean energy guaranteed to all at reasonable prices", which is the seventh goal of the sustainable development goals that the Egyptian state adopted and is supposed to achieve (Egypt 2030).
The following points attempt to draw a picture of the labor market in Egypt, and point out its key shortcomings and imbalances, which are exacerbated with the crisis of Covid-19. The crisis, at the same time, opens a door for discussion and redress for some of these imbalances. The Egyptian law allows any employer to fire his employees, without any compensation or pension. When a worker gets sick, and he is the provider for his family, he often does not have health insurance that guarantees his treatment.
In the year of the pandemic, as the World Health Organization called it last March, when millions lose their jobs and their basic living, the government chooses to cut spending on food subsidies. Despite the exhaustion of the health system, headed by doctors and nurses in government hospitals, the government chose to complete its neglect of the constitutional minimum spending on health.
The public budget, with both revenues and expenditures, is the mirror reflecting the government’s social and economic biases and the choices governments make for the citizenry.
The absence of effective, national channels for discussion or negotiation between the state and competing social forces, which would allow them to reach more fundamental solutions that reflect their competing interests, in order to contain the rancor on both sides.