Egypt’s President El-Sisi raises minimum wage by 67 percent

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday announced that he has raised the minimum wage to 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($115.74) per month. (Reuters)
Updated 30 March 2019

Egypt’s President El-Sisi raises minimum wage by 67 percent

  • The move came ahead of a possible national referendum on constitutional amendments that would potentially allow El-Sisi to remain in power until 2034
  • He said in televised comments the raise will be applied to all Egyptian workers

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday announced that he has raised the minimum wage to 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($115.74) per month from 1,200 ($69.27), a 67 percent increase.
The move came ahead of a possible national referendum on constitutional amendments that would potentially allow him to remain in power until 2034.
Egypt’s Parliament, which is packed with El-Sisi supporters, overwhelmingly approved a package of constitutional changes last month that would further enshrine the military’s role in politics. The supposed referendum is expected to be held in the coming weeks.
El-Sisi said in televised comments the raise will be applied to all Egyptian workers. The move was part of a package of measures, including a raise in pensions and bonuses, intended to ease the burdens of Egyptians hurt by painful austerity measures in recent years. Egypt’s Finance Ministry said the increase would kick in in July.
The austerity measures were part of an ambitious economic reform program intended to revive the country’s economy mauled by years of political turmoil and violence.
The reforms included floating the currency, substantial cuts in state subsidies on basic goods, and introducing a wide range of new taxes. The measures led to a significant rise in prices and services, something critics say has hurt the poor and middle class the hardest.
The reforms were agreed on with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $12 billion loan.
El-Sisi thanked Egyptians, especially women, for enduring the harsh measures. “Another path would have led to the collapse of the state,” he said in a ceremony honoring Egyptian women.
Removing state subsidies is something that El-Sisi’s predecessors could not do because of fears of unrest. The late President Anwar Sadat attempted in 1977 to remove subsidies on bread, a main staple for Egyptians, sparking deadly street riots. He backed down. In comparison, El-Sisi’s reforms fueled popular discontent but never boiled over onto the streets.
Demonstrations are virtually banned in Egypt under a 2013 law, with offenders facing up to five years in prison if convicted.
The economic reform program has won El-Sisi lavish praise from Egypt’s Western backers and bankers. His policies, however, have made more difficult the plight of a majority of Egyptians who are now forced to cope with steep hikes in the price of everything from utilities and fuel to food and transportation.


Tunisia to repatriate extremists’ children from Libya

Updated 23 January 2020

Tunisia to repatriate extremists’ children from Libya

  • Six Tunisian children, aged three to 12 years old, along with a dozen others of different nationalities, had for three years been cared for by a charity in Misrata

TRIPOLI: A Tunisian delegation traveled Thursday to Libya’s third city Misrata to repatriate children of extremists killed in 2016 in the North African country, the Libyan Red Crescent said.
Six Tunisian children, aged three to 12 years old, along with a dozen others of different nationalities, had for three years been cared for by the charity in Misrata, east of the capital Tripoli.
They are the children of extremists who were killed in 2016 in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, a former stronghold the Daesh group.
The Red Crescent said they are expected to be repatriated on Thursday.
A year ago, Tunisian forensic police took DNA samples from the children to confirm their nationality before evacuating them out of Libya.
The pace of the procedure was criticized by NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, which accused Tunisian officials of “dragging their feet” on efforts to repatriate children of Daesh members.
In recent years, Tunisia has been one of the key sources of fighters who headed to conflicts around the world to join ranks with extremist groups.
In 2015, the United Nations said that some 5,000 Tunisians had flocked mainly to Syria and Libya to join the Daesh, while authorities in Tunis gave a lower figure of 3,000.
Many Tunisian fighters who went to Libya joined Daesh in Sirte, which was seized in December 2016 by forces allied to the Tripoli-based UN-recognized Government of National Accord after months of heavy fighting.