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Egypt’s Sisi calls on citizens ‘to tolerate economic reform implications’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi [Egyptian President Office/Apaimages]

All Egyptians must be more tolerant and patient until Egypt’s economy improves under the national reform programme, the country’s president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, said yesterday.

“The government had no choice but to implement a severe economic reform programme,” Sisi told the military school graduates, promising the citizens with “better results.”

Egyptians, he pointed out, played a central role in the national reform. “The government just sets the vision and determines the policies,” he continued, stressing that Egypt wouldn’t have succeeded “without facing Egypt’s major issues, terrorism and economic reform.”

“I thank all the Egyptians who have been patient with the economic reform bad implications,” the Egyptian leader said.

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Egypt has been implementing extensive economic reforms under a $12 billion three-year loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was signed in 2016. It is working to reduce its budget deficit and streamline investment laws, in an attempt to encourage foreign funds.

In November 2016, the government floated the Egyptian pound causing inflation to soar. The government has also slashed subsidies and last year; the Treasury announced that it was planning to increase public tax revenues by 131 per cent by 2022.

The government’s deficit has shrunk, its national debt burden has begun to fall, and foreign exchange buffers have been rebuilt, as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s austerity plan has curtailed public spending.

However, the policies have added to the financial woes of many millions of Egyptians living below the poverty line, who have complained of being unable to afford necessities since the price jumps.

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