Egypt president stresses state ability to overcome challenges

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Jun 2023

“Rest assured… we are in control,” said Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, reassuring Egyptians that “every crisis will eventually pass,” thanks to the people’s solidarity with the state.



Referring to the series of global crises ongoing for three years, El-Sisi assured Egyptians that they can have confidence in the country's ability to navigate through the current challenges.

The president's remarks came during his visit to Abadiyya village, Beheira governorate, to inaugurate several projects under the Decent Life initiative for the development of rural Egypt.

“We [the state] have been working to mitigate the repercussions of global crises,” El-Sisi said.

Concerning the challenges facing the state, El-Sisi said the population increase has taken its toll on development efforts.

“Egypt records four births per minute,” he noted, adding that Egypt’s population has gone up to 105 million.

Amid the domestic financial crisis, Egypt has received millions of people fleeing hostilities in various countries, El-Sisi stated.

“Egypt currently hosts nine million guests,” he said, citing the coronavirus and the Ukrainian-Russian war and their repercussions on the global and domestic economy.

The ongoing war in Sudan has led to the influx of over 200,000 Sudanese refugees since the outbreak of the crisis in mid-April.

El-Sisi pointed out that the dollar crisis has had a major impact on prices in Egypt.

Since March 2022, when the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out, the Egyptian pound has lost over 75 percent of its value, now trading at around EGP 31 against the dollar.

Egypt’s annual headline inflation bounced up again to hit 33.7 percent in May, up from 15.3 percent in May 2022, announced the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

The consumer price index (CPI) reached 174.1 points in May, marking a 2.7 percent increase compared to the previous month, with CAPMAS attributing the rise to the increase in the prices of grains and bread by 4.6 percent, meat and poultry by 2.1 percent and seafood by 9.8 percent.

The prices of oils and fat also jumped by 5.9 percent over the same period.

State efforts

El-Sisi referred to the Egyptian countryside in past times, saying that villagers used to be self-sufficient in terms of their basic dietary commodities and would sell their surplus to the state.

Now the state provides them with their needs, he said.

Since the beginning of the global crises, the president said, “we have been keen to ensure that we have a stock of strategic commodities for no less than six months.”

The president was referring to wheat, rice, oil, meat, and poultry.

He noted that the government has set guiding prices at which the state buys strategic crops, such as wheat, from farmers.

In April, Egypt announced a 20 percent increase in the local wheat procurement price for this harvest season, raising it to EGP 1,500 per ardeb (150 kg) up from EGP 1,250, which was announced in January.

El-Sisi added that “we buy wheat from farmers at a certain price [at EGP 1,500 per ardeb], and we provide it in the form of subsidized bread at 5 piastres per loaf,” much lower than its actual cost “which is 80 piastres.”

The president also noted that 70 million citizens are currently registered in the state's subsidy system, providing them with commodities at subsidized prices.

Decent Life

During his visit to Abadiyya, El-Sisi inspected multiple landmarks, including the medical unit, the technological services complex, and the village's senior home.

He also engaged in conversations with residents and important figures from the community.

The Decent Life presidential initiative was launched in 2019, with the goal of improving the lives of Egypt's most impoverished citizens by improving infrastructure, providing access to clean drinking water, and delivering essential social services.

As part of the initiative, various complementary activities have been implemented, such as the establishment of markets, parking lots, and fire stations. Social initiatives are also underway to promote economic empowerment and job creation through small and medium-sized enterprises.

"The remaining phases of the presidential initiative of Decent Life will cost EGP 1 trillion," El-Sisi said on Wednesday.

The first phase cost EGP 350 billion, exceeding its original-set EGP 200 billion budget.

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