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Morsi renews promise of debt amnesty for Egypt farmers

President confirms all farmers owing LE10,000 or less will see their debts written off

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Sep 2012
Egyptian farmers
Egyptian farmers (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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President Morsi has reiterated his pledge to write off the debts of Egypt's farmers, warning of consequences for banks which don't enact the move.
 
Speaking at a Tuesday conference in Cairo marking Farmers Day, Egypt's president said he was pressing ahead with a debt amnesty for all agricultural workers owing LE10,000 ($1,640) or less.
 
''It is not true what some people say that we will only write off debts of the farmers who cannot pay. We will not punish the serious ones ... all unpaid debts of less than LE10,000 will be cancelled," Morsi told the audience.
 
"I hope the Bank For Development and Agricultural Credit and its delegates will implement this. I warn them from any side-stepping of the issue," he added.
 
The initiative, first announced by Morsi in early August, would see around 44,000 farmers be forgiven for outstanding debts.
 
Official figures show Egypt's farmers hold around LE1.9 billion in total debts, including LE400 million in agricultural loans and LE520 million in investment loans.
 
Morsi also announced on Tuesday a 25 per cent increase in the price the government will pay farmers for rice.
 
The governments of Hosni Mubarak pledged several times to restructure or cut the debt of small farmers. Most intiatives were never implemented.
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