Pres­i­dent de­fends aus­ter­ity mea­sures

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Egypt’s Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fatah el-Sissi has de­fended his gov­ern­ment’s lat­est aus­ter­ity mea­sures aimed at re­build­ing the coun­try’s ailing econ­omy, amid a wave of ar­rests since his re­elec­tion. The gov­ern­ment has raised the price of elec­tric­ity and piped drink­ing wa­ter as part of an eco­nomic re­form pro­gram de­signed to qual­ify for a three-year $12 bil­lion bailout loan from the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which Egypt se­cured in 2016. El-Sissi said late Tues­day in tele­vised com­ments that the gov­ern­ment spends a to­tal sub­sidy bill of 330 bil­lion Egyp­tian pounds, $18.6 bil­lion, an­nu­ally. He said: “We have to pay the price to­gether.” The tough aus­ter­ity mea­sures have hit poor and mid­dle-class Egyp­tians es­pe­cially hard. Egypt has in­ten­si­fied its crack­down on dis­sent since el-Sissi’s re-elec­tion in the March vote in which he faced no se­ri­ous chal­lengers.

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