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Staff report

The measures taken earlier Saturday to reduce fuel subsidies were urgently needed to maintain stable financial conditions, mainly after the increase in global oil prices, Egypt's Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet has asserted.

Global prices of oil per barrel have exceeded 80 dollars, a development that required the state to act to get local prices right, Minister Maeet explained in a statement.

Elaborating, the finance minister said that the state has addressed the situation swiftly to forestall any increase in the state budget and an ensuing rise in public debt.

The swift move, Minister Maeet said, was necessary for the state to maintain the capability for pursuing economic reforms, funding social protection packages and boosting investment activities.

The maintenance of such a capability, the finance minister said, is essential for the realisation of social justice which is a societal demand, especially with regard to increasing expenditures on health, education and public investments, the creation of fresh job opportunities for young people and maintaining the attention that the state is giving to the provision of social housing.

The government is treating all such demands and requirements as priorities; hence the need for redirecting the state’s financial resources in such a way as to support human and social development, economic reforms and safeguarding the country’s financial prospects, Minister Maeet said. 

Minister Maeet said that the amounts that will be saved from fuel subsidy cuts would be redirected to the boosting of social protection net, developing education and health sectors as well as increasing the pensions and salaries of government employees.

The cost of subsidising petroleum products in the new fiscal year (starts on July 1) is expected to show a decrease to LE89.1 billion, compared to 110.15 billion in current fiscal year, Minister Maeet added.

The new fiscal year’s state budget implies the pursuance of several subsidies’ programmes with an aggregate cost of LE334 billion –  a move that reflects the continuity of state action to protect the limited-income  brackets, he said. In this conext, Finance Minister Maeet noted that bread and basic commodity subsidies would cost the state budget some at LE100 billion.

Stressing that the economic reform programme is progressing steadily and is praised by top international financial institutions, Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet indicated in published statements yesterday that Egypt is expected to receive the fourth tranche of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan, next month.

Disbursement of the fourth tranche, valued at $2 billion, would be considered by IMF’s Executive Board at an upcoming meeting, Minister Maeet said, noting in this regard that the world’s top financing institutions, especially including the IMF, the Global Investment Society and world credit rating agencies have acknowledged the steady progress of Egypt’s economic reform programme.

Egypt received the third tranche of the IMF loan in December 2017.

In May, an IMF delegation visited Egypt for several days in a third review of the state’s economic reform programme.

CAIRO, June 12, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced granting 48 awards for the winners of the State Prizes of Science and Technology for 2017.

The minister made the remarks on Tuesday at a press conference held following the 171st board meeting of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology.

Abdel Ghaffar asserted the political leadership's keenness on supporting scientists and researchers, a fact that stems from the state's belief in their leading role in achieving sustainable development.

The meeting was attended by heads and directors of research centers and institutes along with a raft of Egyptian scientists.

CAIRO, June 7, 2018 (MENA) – Head of the Public Education Sector Reda Hegazy denied that the French language exam of Thanaweya Amma (General Secondary School Certificate), scheduled for Thursday, was leaked. 

Hegazy pointed out in a statement that the samples of questions posted on social media websites had nothing to do with the ministry's exam.

He added that the education ministry had contacted the printing press in charge of the exams to make sure that the French exam sheet had not been leaked.

CAIRO, June 5, 2018 (MENA) - The commotion which erupted at an exam room at El Maadawi School in Beyala City, Kafr el Sheikh, has been controlled, according to the Ministry of Education Spokesman Ahmed Khairi.

The situation is now under control and necessary procedures have been taken, he said in statements on Tuesday.

The reason behind the exam room trouble was not disclosed.

CAIRO, June 4, 2018 (MENA) - House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal stressed that the political leadership and the parliament pay attention to developing education as a main issue. The house is keen on supporting education development efforts in Egypt, he noted.

These remarks came during the parliament's general session on Monday under Abdel Aal to examine a report compiled by the planning and budget committee on the 2018/2019 - 2021/2022 draft sustainable development plan.

The report also takes up the draft state budget, the draft budgets of the economic authorities and the draft budget of the National Organization for Military Production (NOMP) for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

Abdel Aal underlined that developing education is among the priorities of the State since President Abdel Fattah El Sisi came into office, adding that the process of development can not be implemented in one or two years.

For his part, Finance Minister Amr el Garhy said, during his speech before the parliament, that the budget deficit will be reduced which will allow the state to expend more on education during the coming years.

CAIRO, June 4, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Education and Technical Education Ministry will organize the first Arab forum for schools of people with special needs in October in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

The ministry outlined a work plan which tackles all the art, sport, cultural and developmental aspects to shed light on the talents of the children with special needs in schools in Egypt and the Arab countries, said the head of the Central Department for Special Education Affairs at the Ministry of Education Hala Abdel Salam in a statement on Monday.

During the event, the children with special needs will display their talents in the fields of graphic, painting, photographing besides other domains, the official said.

A football competition will be also organized during the forum, she noted.

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