The Egyptian authorities have announced that they will raise the minimum wage for government workers to 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($153) as part of a new 67-billion-pound ($3.39-billion) support package to help those in need. The package will assist those who are struggling to pay soaring prices.
The latest package, announced by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly at a news conference, was an attempt to mitigate the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has been affecting the country’s economy for the past eight months.
In a two-hour address on Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said he concurred that families required a monthly allowance of at least 10,000 pounds ($500) in order to make ends meet.
He said that in Egypt, where 25 million schoolchildren account for nearly a quarter of the population, the government cannot expect schoolteachers to dedicate themselves to teaching children on salaries of between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds a month.
The government, Mr Madbouly said, will soon send to Parliament for approval a bill raising the income tax exemption to 30,000 pounds a year from 24,000 pounds.
Egypt has been severely affected by the consequences of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Its currency has lost about 20% of its value since March. Up to $25 billion fled its once-lucrative debt market within a week of the war starting in February. Inflation, fuelled by a surge in food and fuel prices, has risen to about 16% and will likely increase further if the currency continues to drop.
The local industry dependent on imported components has also been hit by a foreign currency crunch.
During the war, the most populous Arab nation, Egypt, which has 104 million people, was affected. The economy, which had been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, was just recovering when the war began.
In addition to the higher minimum wage and tax exemption, the Egyptian prime minister said that a mechanism was being put together to financially support private sector workers who might be laid off.
Image Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany