Through a Central Bank of Egypt’s initiative, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the country have secured E£146 billion in funding.

According to the chairman of Banque Misr, Mohamed El Etreby, under the initiative, banks in Egypt will offer SMEs soft loans with interest rates of 5 percent and 7 percent.

The Central Bank of Egypt has also offered many initiatives to the SMEs. Some notable initiatives from the apex bank include allocating at least 20 percent of their credit portfolio to the SMEs.

Mohamed El Etreby highlighted that SMEs contribute about 33 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of developing countries, while their contribution to GDP reaches 59 percent in developed countries. The Central Bank of Egypt’s initiative to allocate funds to SMEs could be based on these facts.

Recently, the Central Bank of Egypt issued E£2.5 billion in treasury bonds on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. The bonds, which were offered in two installments with the first valued at E£1.25 billion with a three-year term and the second worth E£ 1.25 billion with a seven-year term.

The budget deficit for the current fiscal year is estimated to be around E£445.1 billion. The ministry plans to finance the deficit by issuing treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans. The Ministry of Finance also aims to reduce the government debt to GDP ratio to 82.5 percent by the end of June 2020 and to 77.5 percent by the end of June 2022.

Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Tarek Amer on Monday stressed that the bank gives top priority to spurring financial inclusion rates, in parallel with Egypt’s Vision 2030 for sustainable development.

Tarek Amer underlined the importance of financial inclusion and the need to integrate all segments of the society into the formal financial system.