Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-08-14 07:56:36
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi reiterated on Saturday that Egypt is facing major economic challenges, saying authorities and citizens must work together and embrace reforms to overcome such dire conditions.
“We need to cooperate together, as a nation, to face the current difficult economic conditions,” al-Sisi told Egyptians during the inauguration of a petrochemical complex in Alexandria.
In the televised speech, al-Sisi talked about coming economic reforms, including reforms of subsidies.
His statement comes a few days after Egypt and the IMF reached an initial deal for a $12 billion fund facility over three years, expected to be approved by the fund's executive board as well as the country's parliament in the coming weeks.
The Egyptian economy in the course of 60 years, al-Sisi said, has been hit with several blows due to wars, including the 1956 war, the Yemen war, the1967 war, and the 1973 war.
What also added fuel to fire, al-Sisi said, is the perennial terrorism that repeatedly took a toll on tourism. Moreover, an increase in state salaries had led to an EGP 600 billion increase in domestic debt throughout the past four years, he added.
According to al-Sisi, salaries rose from EGP 80 billion before the 2011 revolution to EGP 228 billion yearly after it, raising domestic debt from EGP 800 billion to 2.3 trillion pounds, or a rate of 97 percent of GDP.
He added that 900,000 people have been appointed in the public sector, even though the sector doesn't need such so many employees.
al-Sisi said that the first attempt to introduce economic reforms was in 1977, during the presidency of Anwar El-Sadat, who introduced austerity measures, including the removal of subsidies on basic goods.
The country then witnessed large-scale popular protests, known as the “bread intifiada,” leading the government to retreat on the measures.
Succeeding governments were afraid to enforce such measures, El-Sisi said, stressing that he will do whatever necessary to improve the economy.
"All tough decisions that many hesitated over long years [...] to take, I will not hesitate for a second to take," he said to applause.
He added that whatever procedures the government would undergo, they would always keep an eye on the “humble citizen.” More»