Follow the latest in economic news and developments about the Arab transition countries. 

Yemen’s parliament approved the country’s 2014 budget on Saturday rising spending by around 4 percent to 2.88 trillion rials ($13.4 billion) from the 2013 budget plan. The cabinet had approved a draft of the budget on December 26. Estimated revenue for 2014 is around 2.20 trillion rials, up about 6 percent from 2013. The budget projects a deficit of around 679 billion rials that compares with a deficit of 682 billion rials envisaged in the original 2013 budget. [SABA]
Egypt’s government will finalize a bill on a value added tax (VAT) by end of January, according to Mamdouh Omar, head of the Income Tax Authority. The VAT will be fixed at a unified rate between 10 to 12 percent and will be imposed on all goods and services with a few exceptions such as subsidized food stuffs like oil and wheat. Egypt’s government has announced on several occasions since 2007 that it is going to implement the VAT in order to increase fiscal revenues, but the decision has been repeatedly postponed. [Ahram]
The Development and Employment Fund (DEF) has announced its JD 31 million funding plan for 2014, which will provide more than 10,000 work opportunities, a 30 percent increase compared to last year. DEF Director General Abdullah Freij said the plan is part of the fund’s efforts to encourage citizens to establish small- and medium-sized projects in different sectors, with a focus on residents of remote governorates and poverty pockets. Around 30 percent of the loan beneficiaries are holders of bachelor’s or diploma degrees. [Jordan Times]
The flow of foreign investment reached TD 1,776.7 during the 11 months of 2013, up 14.8 percent compared to the same period of 2012 and 22.5 percent in comparison of 2011, according to statistics published by the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA). Compared to its values of 2010 (January-November), the flow of foreign investments (TD 2,227.3) decreased 20.2 percent. These new flows of investment generated by the creation of 315 projects and the expansion of 177 others, have contributed to the creation of 7,470 new jobs. [TAP]
Also of Interest:
Egypt commits EGP 630 million for projects in Upper Egypt | Aswat Masriya
8,512 new companies established in Egypt in 2013 | Cairo Post
Egypt: Minimum income applied for government employees this January | DNE
EU pledges €600 million for 3rd metro line in Egypt | Cairo Post
Egyptian economy stabilizing: Ministry of International Cooperation | DNE
Saudi businessmen propose bill to amend Egyptian Investment Law | DNE
Libya to build new housing | Libya Herald, Magharebia
Tunisia’s trade deficit worsens in 2013 | TAP