Egypt President s Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
"[Citizens'] salaries are not commensurate with decent standards of living, but things are okay and we are doing our best to improve the conditions and create job opportunities," El-Sisi said in a phone call with the satellite TV channel CBC on Sunday evening.
"However, as long as the country's population is increasing at this rate, the problem will persist," the president warned.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt’s population passed the 103 million mark in late February. CAPMAS also reported that the last increase of 1 million took place over seven months and 22 days.
Egypt recently introduced a host of social protection measures to alleviate the impact of global economic crises on the Egyptian people, El-Sisi added.
In January, President El-Sisi issued a number of directives on Tuesday to the finance ministry to raise the minimum wage for public sector employees to from EGP 2,400 to EGP 2,700 in the state budget for the fiscal year 2022/23, effective 1 July 2022.
In late 2021, Egypt also mandated a minimum monthly wage for private sector workers for the first time ever at at EGP 2,400, starting 1 January 2022.
Egypt is witnessing a wave of price increases in the local market, with government officials attributing the surge to post-coronavirus inflation driven by a gradual increase in demand for basic commodities, a global rise in wheat and oil prices, as well as attempts by some local merchants to profiteer from demand on some goods.
The government has recently taken a number of measures to curb inflationary pressures and combat the attempts by some merchants to profiteer from increases in demand or global price hikes.
The president offered assurances that the country has managed to secure sufficient stocks of basic commodities, such as vegetable oil, sugar, rice, and other main staples.
Over the past weeks, Egyptian officials have stressed that the country has sufficient reserves of various strategic commodities, including wheat that goes into producing bread – a key staple for Egyptians.
Wheat reserves and expected local supply will meet demand for eight months, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade announced last week.
Egypt, the world’s top wheat importer, gets 80 percent of its wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine, with the Russian-Ukrainian war threatening to disrupt global wheat supply lines.
During Sunday's call, El-Sisi pointed out that the country's national mega projects have helped mitigate the repercussions of the latest global developments, despite the fact that some people have criticised the state's decision to launch these projects.
"Many people questioned the usefulness of these projects, wondering why [the state] spends so much money on them," El-Sisi said, adding that among these projects were the state-run silos, which he said have contributed to preventing the loss of 15-20 percent (around 1.7 million tonnes) of the country's stocked wheat.
In recent years, Egypt launched a national project to secure stockpiles of strategic foods through the construction of nearly 50 silos distributed over 17 governorates, with a storage capacity reaching nearly 1.5 million tonnes.
The country will build more silos and cultivate more wheat during the coming two years to decrease its reliance on imports, the president said.