Egypt PM questioned by MP over economic impact of extended holidays

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 4 Jul 2023

Egypt recently observed an extended public holiday from 27 June to 3 July to commemorate Eid Al-Adha and the 30 June Revolution, with two more days off in July for the Islamic New Year on Tuesday 18 July and the 23 July Revolution Day, raising concerns in Parliament about the economic impact of such extended breaks.

an aerial view of the  Tahya Masr  (Long Live Egypt) overpass crossing the Nile river island of Warr
File photo: An aerial view showing empty streets of Egypt's capital Cairo during one of the previous holidays. AFP

 

MP Amal Abdel-Hamid questioned Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the ministers of finance, planning, and manpower about the negative impact of the long public holidays on Egypt's economy. "Why should Egypt take such long public holidays?" she asked, expressing her concerns.

She noted that "Tuesday marks the first working day following the end of one of the longest public holidays in Egypt, which included Eid Al-Adha and the 30 June Revolution, as well as Friday and Saturday weekend holidays."

"This long public holiday, which saw vital sectors like banks and the stock exchange closing for nine days, led to disrupting the interests of citizens and businesses and harming the national economy," said Abdel-Hamid.

She also highlighted the crowdedness on the streets and in government and public authorities after everyone returned to work on Tuesday following the long holiday.

"This long public holiday also came while the Egyptian economy has been reeling from shocks since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine and its devastating repercussions on the country's productive and economic sectors," said Abdel-Hamid.

She stated that "it is no secret that the Egyptian economy is in a crisis even though it has all the potentials necessary to help it come out of this crisis, but all we need is to adopt flexible policies that can mitigate the impact of global economic pressures, soaring inflation rates and a foreign exchange crunch."

"So, I wonder while we are suffering from such hard economic conditions is it logical to take a nine-day public holiday with a negative impact on productive sectors," said Abdel-Hamid.

She added that "while countries living in conditions similar to us are cutting public holidays and raising the slogan [all time should be dedicated to work and production], we in Egypt are taking long holidays that only lead to disrupting the vital public interests of citizens and negatively affect the economy."

"Let me also state that foreign direct investments usually go to countries which work all weekdays and have a minimum number of holidays, and so I think that the sector of investment is the one that is most negatively hit by long holidays," said Abdel-Hamid.

Madbouly decided on 20 June to give the public sector a seven-day holiday, starting on 27 June and ending on 3 July, to observe Eid Al-Adha and the 10th anniversary of the 30 June Revolution.

The Central Bank of Egypt and the Stock Exchange also closed from 27 June to 3 July.

This month will have two more days off: Islamic New Year on 18 July and 23 July Revolution Day on 23 July.

If the cabinet marks the two-day holiday on Thursday instead of Tuesday and Sunday, the country will have two three-day weekends or a four-day holiday from Thursday 20 July to Sunday 23 July.

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