Egypt Watch

New fees for schools, universities, and mobile phones in Egypt

The Health Committee in the Egyptian parliament approved, in a meeting on Sunday evening, a bill to establish a medical emergency fund submitted by the government, according to which new fees will be imposed on some schools and universities, as well as on mobile phones. The draft law aims to provide a mechanism for the sustainability of financing the Ministry of Health’s services in the field of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, medicine, and for accidents, emergencies and intensive care, and other needs that the state budget is not sufficient to cover.

The committee agreed to add six new items to the fund’s resources, including introducing an emergency stamp at a value of EGP 10 for licences for all types of cars and a value of EGP 100 on annual fees for private and international schools and universities. It also imposes a fee of one penny for every minute of cell phone communication, and a deduction of two per cent of the selling price of imported cosmetics, and a deduction of one per cent of land sales in the New Urban Communities Authority.

During recent months, the Egyptian authorities have increased a lot of fees, most of them specific to the poor’s services, including increasing government school fees by 156 per cent, imposing fees for patients to enter mental health hospitals, as well as imposing repetition fees for university students in Egypt, amounting to EGP 12,000 per student. It should be noted that the current Egyptian budget violates the provisions of Articles 18, 19, 21, and 23 of the constitution for the fifth year in a row, related to the state’s commitment to allocating a percentage of government spending of not less than three per cent of the national product to the health sector, four per cent for pre-university education, two per cent for higher education, and one per cent for scientific research, as the budget allocated only about 3.65 per cent of the constitutional allocations for all of these sectors combined.

Appropriations for the health sector in the 2020-2021 budget amounted to only EGP 93.5 billion, including allocations to the Ministry of Health and hospital services, maternity centres, research and development in the field of health affairs, the Drug Research Authority, and the National Council for Drug Addiction Control and Treatment.