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Egypt: Sisi instructs government to cut down spending

Jordanian King Abdullah II (L) is welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (R) at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport ahead of the Tripartite meeting of Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on June 19, 2022. [Royal Hashemite Court - Anadolu Agency]
Jordanian King Abdullah II (L) is welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (R) at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport ahead of the Tripartite meeting of Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on June 19, 2022. [Royal Hashemite Court - Anadolu Agency]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi instructed the government to reduce public expenditure and the government debt-to-GDP ratio.

This came during a meeting with the cabinet's Ministerial Economic Group, which comprises Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Said, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashatt, Finance Minister Mohammed Maait, Minister of Public Business Sector Hesham Tawfik, Minister of Industry and Trade Nevine Gamea, and the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel.

During the meeting, the ministerial group presented an overview of the public budget for the fiscal year 2021/2022 to Al-Sisi. The budget saw a 20 per cent increase in revenue and a 15 per cent increase in expenditure.

According to their figures, Egypt's public budget has seen a surplus for four years in a row.

Al-Sisi told the ministerial group that the government needs to reduce public debt and cut spending while also supporting welfare programmes and spending on public healthcare and education. He also urged the government to continue to carry out investments that aim to maximise production and job opportunities.

READ: Egypt's Sisi grants armed forces immunity from prosecution

His suggestions during the meeting are contrary to previous outrageous comments over the years which his critics say are an effort to deflect responsibility for his mishandling of the economy and spending money on vanity projects like the new capital instead of building a welfare state.

In 2017 Al-Sisi was mocked online for asking citizens to donate their spare change to charitable projects.

He has also asked Egyptians to lose weight to save money after the price of fruit and vegetables skyrocketed after the government's economic reforms slashed food subsidies.

In 2019 the president asked Egyptians to work 12 hour days to increase economic output.

Earlier this year, he suggested that Egyptians eat leaves from trees just as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did in an effort to placate rising unrest as a result of increased poverty and a spike in prices.

READ: The 'New Egypt' in its ninth year

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