Author: Omar Ghannam

Like public finances elsewhere, the public finances of the Egyptian state suffer from a semi-permanent deficit. Although a limited deficit in state budgets is acceptable for most prevailing economic theories, the persistent and worsening deficit in public budgets leads to severe phases during which the economy suffers. During periods of economic prosperity, soft loans are easily accessible, which encourages states to rely on borrowing as a secondary source of financing for extended periods until it becomes a permanent source of financing. The financial market eventually puts an end to every period of easy borrowing, forcing the government to face the reality it has tried to avoid. Under such circumstances, governments have three tools at their disposal: borrowing at the highest interest rate, austerity and disabling services and social protection programs, and raising taxes and customs duties.

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