Egypt’s banks told to limit withdrawals and deposits

A man wearing a protective face mask withdraws money from an ATM at the Al Shohadaa "Martyrs" metro station as Egypt ramps up efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19 in Cairo, Egypt, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 30 March 2020

Egypt’s banks told to limit withdrawals and deposits

CAIRO: Egyptian banks have been instructed to apply temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in a move seemingly designed to control inflation and hoarding as concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus.
The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, a central bank statement said, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.
The central bank has also limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds, it said in a statement.
“Not official, but I heard (it was designed) to control hoarding and inflation,” said one analyst who asked not to be named.

SPEEDREAD

● The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.

● The central bank has also limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds.

“This could reduce hoarding and panic buying and contain prices,” a second analyst said.
The central bank has also urged people to limit their use of banknotes and to rely on electronic transfers and e-payments.
“All banks canceled fees on transfers and e-payment methods for the citizens’ convenience,” the statement added.
Egypt ordered mosques to shut their doors to worshippers for two weeks from March 21.
The Ministry of Islamic Endowments said on Sunday that it would extend the closure indefinitely.


EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

Updated 29 May 2020

EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

  • To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible

BRUSSELS: The European Commission pledged on Thursday to stay away from fossil-fueled projects in its coronavirus recovery strategy, and to stick to its target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by the middle of the century, but environmental groups said they were unimpressed.

To weather the deep recession triggered by the pandemic, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a €1.85 trillion ($2 trillion) package consisting of a revised long-term budget and a recovery fund, with 25 percent of the funding set aside for climate action.

To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible, the EU’s executive arm wants to increase a €7.5-billion ($8.25 billion) fund presented earlier this year that was part of an investment plan aiming at making the continent more environmentally friendly.

Under the commission’s new plan, which requires the approval of member states, the mechanism will be expanded to €40 billion ($44 billion) and is expected to generate another €150 billion in public and private investment. The money is designed to help coal-dependent countries weather the costs of moving away from fossil fuels.

Environmental group WWF acknowledged the commission’s efforts but expressed fears the money could go to “harmful activities such as fossil fuels or building new airports and motorways.”

“It can’t be used to move from coal to coal,” Frans Timmermans, the commission executive vice president in charge the European Green Deal, responded on Thursday. “It is unthinkable that support will be given to go from coal to coal. That is how we are going to approach the issue. That’s the only way you can ensure you actually do not harm.”

Timmermans conceded, however, that projects involving fossil fuels could sometimes be necessary, especially the use of natural gas to help move away from coal.

The commission also wants to dedicate an extra €15 billion ($16.5 billion) to an agricultural fund supporting rural areas in their transition toward a greener model.

Von der Leyen, who took office last year, has made the fight against climate change the priority of her term. Timmermans insisted that her goal to make Europe the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 remained unchanged, confirming that upgraded targets for the 2030 horizon would be presented by September.

Reacting to the executive arm’s recovery plans, Greenpeace lashed out at a project it described as “contradictory at best and damaging at worst,” accusing the commission of sticking to a growth-driven mentality detrimental to the environment.

“The plan includes several eye-catching green `options,’ including home renovation schemes, taxes on single-use plastic waste and the revenues of digital giants like Google and Facebook. But it does not solve the problem of existing support for gas, oil, coal, and industrial farming — some of the main drivers of a mounting climate and environmental emergency,” Greenpeace said.

“The plan also fails to set strict social or green conditions on access to funding for polluters like airlines or carmakers.”

Timmermans said the EU would keep investing in the development of emission-free public transportation, and promoting clean private transport through the EU budget.