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Egypt's Sisi raises minimum wage to help assuage economic hardships

Egypt's President el-Sisi. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Cairo, Egypt Mar 30, 2019, 09.23 PM (IST)

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has raised the country's minimum wage to 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($116) a month from 1,200 pounds, he said at an event on Saturday celebrating women.

Sisi said the raise would apply to all Egyptian workers and added that pensions would rise by 15 per cent, with pensioners receiving a minimum increase of 150 pounds to take the minimum pension to 900 pounds.

"This was supposed to come out on June 30. But I said this matter cannot wait," the president said.

Egypt has implemented a series of tough economic measures, including devaluing the pound, slashing energy subsidies and introducing a value-added tax, to help meet conditions of a $12 billion IMF loan. The measures have left many of Egypt's nearly 100 million people struggling to make ends meet.

Remaining fuel subsidies are expected to be cut around mid-2019, and the petroleum minister said last month Egypt would implement an automatic price indexation mechanism on 95 octane petrol starting in April.

Under the measures announced by Sisi, state employees will receive a raise of 7 per cent, or a minimum of 75 pounds, while those not employed in the civil service will receive a 10 per cent raise, also receiving at least 75 pounds.

All state employees will also get a bonus of 150 pounds to help compensate for inflation, Sisi said, urging Egyptians to alter their spending behavior to help combat rising prices.

“You want to control prices, don't buy things that get more expensive. The matter is simple. By God, by God, by God, anyone selling and buying wants to profit and be successful – if they find that their prices are exaggerated and people don't go buy their commodities, prices will fall," he said.

The pay increases will cost the state 30.5 billion Egyptian pounds in total, Sisi said, noting that more than 300 billion pounds would be allocated for salaries in the 2019/2020 budget, up from 270 billion in the previous year.

Story highlights

Egypt has implemented a series of tough economic measures, including devaluing the pound, slashing energy subsidies and introducing a value-added tax, to help meet conditions of a $12 billion IMF loan. The measures have left many of Egypt's nearly 100 million people struggling to make ends meet.