…Raise Minimum Wage, Pension From To April 1
Egypt has announced a package of wages and pension increases to make residents contain the effect of soaring prices.
Yesterday, the country’s fuel pricing committee raised domestic fuel prices by 0.75 Egyptian pounds ($0.025) for 80-octane petrol to 8.75 pounds a litre, and by one pound to 10.25 pounds for 92-octane fuel.
The committee also raised the premium 95-octane petrol by 0.75 pounds to 11.50 pounds a litre. The price of natural gas for vehicles was also increased from 3.75 pounds a cubic metre to 4.50 pounds.
The price of diesel, widely used for the transport of goods and passengers across the country, remains at 7.25 pounds a litre, the committee said.
Shortly before the announcement yesterday came only hours after the authority raised domestic fuel prices by more than 10%, a move that is likely to increase inflation.
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President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced the new packages on national television said the said that volume into effect on April 1.
It raises the minimum monthly wage for entry-level government employees to 3,500 pounds ($116) and to 5,000 pounds for mid-ranking employees. The minimum wage for government workers with a master’s degree will now be 6,000 pounds, while those who hold a doctorate will receive 10,000 pounds.
Pensions will be raised by 15% and the threshold of collecting income tax will rise from 24,000 to 30,000 pounds per annum. Monthly stipends for the most vulnerable of Egypt’s 104 million people under a state programme called Takaful and Karamah will be raised by 25%.
“I would like to clearly state that I have the interest of the Egyptian citizen constantly before my eyes, with the goodness of his life a specific target we never steer away from,” said Mr. El Sisi in his address delivered at a ceremony in South Cairo to open development projects in Minya, a province south of Cairo.
“As much as I realise the magnitude of pressure citizens have to endure at present, I also have confidence in their ability and self-denial as they face challenges,” said Mr. El Sisi, who has been in office since 2014.
There had been several similar palliatives in the past year. Egypt, who is the most populous Arab state, is reeling from a deep economic crisis significantly worsened by the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war a year ago.
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The crisis led Egypt to devalue its currency by nearly 50% and sparked a foreign currency crunch that has curbed imports, including vital materials needed for domestic industries.
The latest fuel price increases will probably raise the cost of other goods at a time when most Egyptians are believed to be facing the challenges of an ailing economy.
Year-on-year inflation rose to 25.8% in January — a five-year high — chiefly because of rising food prices. Experts expect figures to show it rose further in February.
The government turned to the International Monetary Fund for help, reaching a deal last year for a $3 billion loan to shore up its finances.
The IMF agreed to the deal in return for major reforms, including a flexible foreign exchange regime and the private sector being allowed a greater role in the economy. The government announced last month it was offering investors stakes in 32 state-owned enterprises, including two banks.
Observers in the pro-government media say fuel subsidies have increased in the first half of the current fiscal year, which began on July 1. They say it stood at 66 billion pounds, up from 17 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.
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It increase was attributable to increase of oil prices on world markets and the government’s earlier reluctance to raise domestic fuel prices.
By Bosco Agba