The Iraqi President ratified the budget for 2019 earlier this week, ushering in Iraq’s largest ever budget. While criticised by some onlookers, the budget is viewed as a springboard for further reforms in 2020.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has held private talks with his Rival, Rached Ghannouci, leader of the Ennahda party, after their fallout last summer. Meetings at the Carthage presidential palace and in Doha are said to be part of Qatar-mediated talks.
In response to the Tunisian Governments plans to freeze public wages as part of the measures it is undertaking to control the budget deficit, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) has threatened to call for a general strike.
The Egyptian parliament approved a 200 billion Egyptian pounds ($11 billion) sovereign wealth fund to be established which will contribute to sustaining economic development. The Egypt fund was given 5 billion Egyptian pounds to start up, and a 1 billion pound immediate transfer.
The Egyptian Ministry of Finance announced on Thursday that for the first time in 15 years, Egypt has a surplus in its budget. It is to be noted that primary budget figures do not factor in interest payments on government debt.
The Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that due to subsidy cuts tied to the $12 billion IMF loan, prices of electricity will rise in Egypt. The changes will take place in July 2018 after a press conference held by Mohamed Shaker, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy.
King Abdullah II of Jordan expected to meet Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki later on Monday as protests in Amman continue over tax increases. The tax increases came after an IMF-backed tax reform bill was sent to parliament last month.
Before the May 6 vote, leaders from across the deeply divided political establishment sounded the alarm about the state’s finances and economy. Lebanon is the world’s third-most indebted nation with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 150 percent