In a new leaked audio tape, the Egyptian coup leader Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi has called for an end to subsidies on bread and energy in Egypt, as well as a 50 per cent reduction of public sector salaries.
Gen. Al-Sisi described the measure as "austerity" and pointed to examples in various countries expressing his admiration for them.
In the audio which was broadcasted by Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr on Friday 22 November, he said: "A gas container is sold to citizens for 62 to 67 Egyptian pounds, (restaurants pay much more). This means that a lot of money is being unintentionally wasted in the country."
He said: "It is impossible to pay 107 billion Egyptian pounds to subsidise energy and 17 billion for bread."
Al-Sisi continued: "What I would like to say, regardless if it is appropriate to raise prices or not is that when former President Sadat attempted to solve Egypt's problems in 1977, he decided that every citizen had to pay the prime costs for the goods they bought."
Citing other examples, Gen Al Sisi said: "I would like to tell you that Germany reduced 50 per cent of the salaries for its austerity plan, and people accepted that measure." However, he did not give any details about when and how Germany carried out this measure.
He further pointed to the cases of South Africa and Sudan. In the latter case he said, "When South Sudan seceded from the north and became independent, it cut salaries by 50 per cent. People said nothing."
Then he concluded: "I do not care about the decisions. I would like to say that the situation requires from all of us, Egyptians, if we love our country, to take measures regarding the issue of the prices and goods' subsidies."