Photo and Story
Egyptian flavoured Ramadan
Published 2016-06-05 15:09:50| Aya Salah Eddin
The photo shows a street in downtown Cairo full of Ramadan lanterns. If one strolled down one of the Egyptian streets, he could enter into the spirit of Ramadan tasting a special flavour not to be found in any other country.
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I, like many others, was surprised by the sudden decision taken by Saudi Aramco to stop supplying Egypt’s needs of petroleum products, despite the agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia stating that the latter will secure Egypt’s requirements for petroleum products at 700,000 tonnes per month for five years. The value of the agreement between the two countries amounts to $23bn to be repaid over 15 years. The agreement came to spare Egypt from the fuel crisis, while cancelling it puts Egypt in a difficult position and may cause a severe crisis similar to that we suffered during the era of the Muslim Brotherhood government. The Ministry of Petroleum attempted to mitigate the impact of this news by saying that the agreement is still in effect and that shipments were only halted for October. Yet, I am worried that the length of this suspension would stretch further on the back of political tension between the two states. Since I am primarily concerned about the side effects of a series of differences on the economic level, I will not seek to explain the political situation of the two countries over the controversy on Syria, Libya, and Yemen, or the Egyptian and Iranian rapprochement. Halted oil shipments are just one of a series of crises that may affect Egypt as a result of increased tension between the two countries. Remittances of one million Egyptians in Saudi Arabia are one major source for hard currency, which can be used to pressure Egypt in light of the high unemployment rate. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s deposits—most recently the $2bn deposit—are key to reaching an agreement for a loan with the International Monetary Fund. The Saudi foreign ministry has rejected an informal Egyptian request to exempt Egyptian labour from the recently imposed high fees, or to cut them. This would impact Egyptian expats in the kingdom, who secure hard currency flow into Egypt. I realise how deep the relationship between the two countries is. And I understand that the differences will not be for long. At the same time, I strongly believe that Egypt must change and reduce its dependence on Saudi financial support. In other words, we must seek new ways of self-reliance rather than automatically tending towards Gulf aid. The state should maintain a proper balance between solving economic crises on the one hand, and preserving the sovereignty of political positions on the other. Whoever has the strength, owns his decision.About the Writer: Hany Aboul Fotouh is a lecturer of Crown and Bridge, Faculty of Dentistry, Tanta University, Egypt.
Egypt’s parliament gave a final approval on Monday to the implementation of the long-delayed value-added tax (VAT) at a rate of 13 percent for the current fiscal year. Parliament also increased the list of exempted goods and services to 56 from 52 items. In the next fiscal year, which starts in July 2017, the VAT rate will increase to 14 percent, according to the law, which Ahram Online obtained a copy of. The VAT aims at reducing tax evasion, as it will be applied to each member of the production chain of goods and services at the final retail stage, instead of the current sales tax that is imposed as a one-off on the final sale to customers.
The “UAE Reads” initiative will be launched next Monday under the directions of Sheikha Shamma bint Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan. This cultural initiative is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, in partnership with the UAE University and the Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan Cultural Center. It also coincides with the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and the “Abu Dhabi Reads” initiative. This event falls within the framework of the UAE’s ‘Year of Reading 2016’ initiative launched by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan will be taking part in the “World’s Largest Reading Hour”, along with more than 2500 ladies, female officials, decision-makers and students, at the UAE University’s main theatre in Al Ain at 2:00 p.m. The event will be attended by representatives of the Guinness World Records Organization, who will witness the UAE’s record attempt for the “Largest Reading Lesson.”
Video and Commet
The United Nations' World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year. This event honors the courage, strength, and determination of women, men, and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict, and violence. “In countries where people have to flee their homes because of persecution and violence, political solutions must be found, peace and tolerance restored, so that refugees can return home. In my experience, going home is the deepest wish of most refugees.” Angelina Jolie said in an interview with BBC News on April 8, 2004. “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Part of a poem ‘Home’ by Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire.
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