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

Egypt’s government will start cutting fuel subsidies before it leaves office next year, Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi said Sunday, but the ambitious reform hinges on an end to the country’s turmoil. Although long a demand of international lenders, no Egyptian government has sought to aggressively tackle the bloated fuel subsidy program for fear of igniting unrest. [AFP]
Egypt has asked the Arab Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE to finance its coming-year fuel imports, reported the Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh on Sunday, citing Egypt’s petroleum minister. Over the last month, Egypt has been hit with a fresh butane crisis, with long queues outside cooking gas depots due to a shortage in cylinders. According to petroleum minister Sherif Ismail, Egypt’s government has prepared for the possibility that the Gulf countries will not provide more funding, in which case the state will have to rely on its own coffers to pay for the year’s petroleum imports. Ismail expects the last fuel shipment covered by the three oil-rich Arab states to arrive by the end of December. He added that Egypt is currently negotiating with Cyprus to import natural gas in order to meet domestic demand. [Ahram]
The government on Sunday submitted the 2014 draft state budget law to the Lower House, seeking the Parliament’s endorsement of the bill. According to Finance Minister Umayya Toukan, public spending for next year is estimated to reach JD 8.096 billion, up by JD 920 million over public expenditure re-estimated for 2013. Public revenues before foreign assistance were estimated at JD 5.831 billion; an 11.6 percent increase compared with the JD 5.226 billion estimated for 2013. Overall public revenues, including foreign grants, are estimated to reach JD 6.982 billion. The committee is expected to spend more than two weeks in its deliberations over these bills, before referring them to the Lower House. [Jordan Times]
Two years after Morocco pledged to assist jobless youth, the promise will finally be made good. The “Moubadara” project for jobs in non-governmental sectors and the TAETIR mentoring program for long-term unemployed graduates are both set to get under way in 2014. The National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC) will also be expanded to cover the whole country. And for the first time, non-graduates will be able to use its services. A new employment monitoring centre will also link jobless citizens to intermediation services. The government decided to pay particular attention to supporting the self-employment sector. New measures have been introduced in the draft Finance Act, which is currently being examined in parliament. Plans to simplify taxation will make it easier for unemployed youth to start their own businesses, according to Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid. [Magharebia
Also of Interest:
Egypt: 27 industrial zones to be established to ease up unemployment | Amwal Al-Ghad
Saudi Arabia’s potential $1.45 billion assistance package to Egypt | DNE
Egypt’s military to develop railways at EGP 4.7 billion, says cabinet | Al-Masry Al-Youm
Italy allocated $66 million grant to develop supply sector in Egypt | DNE
Egypt’s Deputy PM: No decision to return Turkish deposit | Youm7
Egypt: EU Delegation launches information campaign | ENPI
Jordan to take measures in 2014 to address its rising public debt | Xinhua
EBRD grants Jordan recipient country status | The Jordan Times
Kuwait grants funding for Jordan LNG | PFM
Saudi Arabia-Morocco relation | Le Matin [French]
Morocco captured 120 projects in 2012 | Le Matin [French]
Islamic finance gains popularity across the globe | Khaleej Times, Zawya DJ
USAID and Morocco announce new development cooperation strategy | USAID
Algeria prepares to open bourse to foreign investors | Business Recorder