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Egypt cuts spending on national newspapers over high debt

Old newspapers are on sale at Cairo's historic al-Azbakeya book market at downtown in Cairo on 16 January, 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images]
Newspapers are on sale at a book market at in Cairo, Egypt on 16 January 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images]

The Egyptian government decided yesterday to reduce spending on national press outlets as part of measures to reduce debt estimated at billions of Egyptian pounds, Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly accepted a plan submitted by Minister of State for Information, Osama Heikal during a cabinet’s meeting on Sunday, which includes a number of measures that aim to reduce the financial burden of Egyptian national newspapers.

According to the paper, the minister’s plan includes halting new appointments in these institutions, and to extend contracts of employees over the age of 60 only upon the approval of the “Supreme Council of the Press”.

READ: Egypt denies laying off large number of public servants to reduce spending

The plan also includes increasing the price of newspapers and reducing the copies printed of publications that do not sell more than 5,000 copies.

The Lebanese newspaper said halting new appointments in the national press outlets will affect hundreds of journalists who have been waiting for tenure for more than five years.

The prime minister has also ordered an inventory be taken of national papers’ assets including buildings and land as part of a plan to sell them and repay their debts.

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