Egyptians need to accept harsh economic measures: Sisi

Ahram Online , Monday 1 Aug 2016

File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Monday that the state is currently facing the challenge of fostering trust between the government and the public and getting people to accept the adoption of "harsh economic measures."

"The state will not be able to accomplish desired goals without working on public opinion," the president said during a Presidential Leadership Programme's (PLP) forum, stressing that the problem does not lie in finding solutions for Egypt's economic problems, but in getting the public to accept these solutions.

El-Sisi pointed out that unneeded subsidies affect the state's budget in meeting the needs of citizens, and Egypt's economy has involved the indiscriminate offering of subsidies.

He added that the government is currently working on preparing a system to ensure that subsidies are only granted to those who deserve it.

El-Sisi's statements come during the International Monetary Fund's delegation visit to Egypt as the country eyes a $12 billion loan package.

The program, through which Egypt is seeking to secure $4 billion annually over three years, is aimed at easing the country's budget deficit, which edged up to between 11 and 13 percent over the past six years, according to finance minister Amr El-Garhy.

Egypt has denied that the IMF has imposed any preconditions for the granting of the much-awaited loan.

The government plans to slash its total subsidy bill in the new budget by 14 percent in the coming fiscal year, but has refrained from specifying when and by how much fuel prices would rise.

The Egyptian president is attending the youth-based forum where he held an open discussion with the students of the programme on the pivotal role that governors should take to solve citizens' problems.

The forum discusses 19 simulation models representing state apparatuses, including the government, the parliament and regulatory bodies, as well as 35 workshops with concentration on political, social, economic and administrative state sectors.

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