Egypt's press institutions cut losses by 10% in a year: Press authority head

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 31 Jan 2022

The Chairman of Egypt's National Press Authority (NPA) Abdel-Sadek El-Shorbagy told members of the Senate's Media and Culture Committee on Monday that reforms in national press institutions enabled them to cut their losses by 10 per cent in the period from July 2020 to July 2021.

Senate
The Chairman of Egypt s National Press Authority (NPA) ) Abdel-Sadek El-Shorbagy speaks to Senators during a meeting with members of the Senate s Media and Culture Committee on Monday (Photo: Gamal Essam El-Din)

"We were able to cut spending and double revenues from conferences, symposiums, and exhibitions in a bid to cover the gap between revenues and expenses without losing the assets of these institutions," El-Shorbagy said. 

"Measures adopted by the NPA included setting up modern and attractive online portals for all press institutions, including Dar El-Maaref and Dar El-Hilal, and raising the value of their lands," he explained. 

El-Shorbagy revealed that the NPA slashed the number of workers at national press institutions. 

"Currently, there are 21,000 employees: 4,000 journalists and 17,000 management staff," he said.

El-Shorbagy, however, added that these institutions still have EGP 3 billion in debt to the National Insurance Authority (NIA). 

"These debts go back to 1970 and were estimated at EGP 1.9 billion, but over the years they increased to hit EGP 3 billion due to debt services. The NIA agreed with the institutions to EGP 4 million a month over 50 years and with the stipulation that 90 per cent of the interest rate payments be abolished," he said. 

There is also EGP 7 billion in settlements debted to the tax authority, he pointed out. 

"The original debt stood at EGP 3 billion but over the years it climbed to EGP 7 billion and that most of these are advertisement taxes (36 per cent)," he said, adding that "90 per cent of the debts owed to the customs authority were settled and we were able to reach agreements to settle commercial debts owed to banks."

Mahmoud Mosallam, chairman of the Senate's Media and Culture Committee, said national press organisations are the pillars of Egypt's media and they should remain strong and effective to play their role in supporting the state.

"The state should help these institutions solve their problems in order to stay strong and effective in playing their national roles," Mosallam said. 

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