Egyptian Prime Minister announces $15 increase in minimum monthly wage

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s prime minister on Wednesday announced a 300-pound ($15.20) increase in the minimum monthly wage as average Egyptians suffer from soaring prices in recent months.

During a press conference, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly announced the increase to 3,000 Egyptian pounds (over $152), from 2,700 Egyptian pounds ($137).

It was the fourth increase in the minimum wage since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took office in 2014. It came as the government faces daunting financial and economic challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. and the Russian war in Ukraine.

The prime minister also announced a £300 ($15.25) increase in civil servants’ pensions and bonuses.

The government, he also said, will not raise electricity bills until June next year. It will also offer financial support to some businesses affected by the global economic crisis to avoid furloughs, Madbouly said. He did not specify.

Madbouly said some of the changes will take effect immediately, while others will need to be approved by parliament. He gave no further details.

Wednesday’s measures aim to ease the burden on Egyptians affected by the current global economic crisis, he said. Already, middle-class and poor Egyptians have suffered painful austerity measures in recent years since the government embarked on ambitious economic reforms.

Egypt’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which have rocked global markets and pushed up oil and food prices around the world. Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat, most of which came from Russia and Ukraine. The country’s supply is subject to price variations on the international market.

The Egyptian pound recently hit a record high against a rising US dollar, selling at 19.7 pounds to the dollar. The slide came as the government engaged in months-long talks with the International Monetary Fund for a new loan to support its reform agenda and help tackle challenges caused by war in Europe.

The government has received pledges from wealthy Gulf Arab countries for billions of dollars in investment, some of which is earmarked for private industry.

Inflation in the country of more than 104 million people topped 15% in September, increasing pressure on low-income households and daily necessities. About a third of Egyptians live in poverty, according to government figures.

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