EGYPTIAN PM SAYS BENEFITS OF ECONOMIC REFORM TO APPEAR WITHIN TWO OR THREE YEARS

CAIRO, Egypt – Egypt’s Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, reassured Egyptians that benefits of the ongoing economic reform will appear within two or three years.

Ismail made the remarks at a meeting of the Ministerial Economic Committee, which reviewed the most important features of the economic reform programme, in light of the measures taken by the government recently, reported the official MENA news agency.

The meeting was attended by the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, as well as, the ministers of communications, investment, public business sector, irrigation and local development, it said.

Suffering from an economic slowdown over the past few years, due to political turmoil and security issues, Egypt has started a three-year economic reform programme, which includes austerity measures, energy subsidy cuts and a floating exchange rate.

Ismail said, the government is keen on completing the economic programme, while emphasising the importance of transparency by the government.

He said, the measures adopted by the government, including the foreign exchange liberalisation and the new value-added tax, to deliver subsidies to the low-income citizens, will have positive effect on many sectors, such as health, education, sanitary drainage, drinking water, electricity, oil and housing, within two or three years.

At the same time, Ismail directed monitoring agencies to follow up markets, to make sure that goods are sold at affordable prices.

As part of the economic reform programme, the Egyptian cabinet announced, last Thursday, the rise of fuel prices by 42.8 to 55.3 percent, the second in less than a year, since a similar rise in early Nov, 2016.

Ismail said, the decision aims to deliver the government subsidies to those who deserve them by improving service provided to them. But the latest fuel price hike worries many Egyptians, as it usually leads to price increase for almost all other commodities, as a result.

Under a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year, Egypt agreed to adopt the economic reform, in order to get a three-year loan of 12 billion U.S. dollars.

Egypt has since devalued the Egyptian pound against the U.S. dollar, in a floating exchange rate, while lifting subsidies on petroleum fuels. These measures have led to sharp rise in Egypt’s inflation rate, which was 29.7 percent in May.-

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK