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Only believe the gov't on Egypt's economic crisis, says Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the 43rd Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 09, 2022. [Royal Court of Saudi Arabia - Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the 43rd Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 09, 2022. [Royal Court of Saudi Arabia - Anadolu Agency]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has warned Egyptians to only believe what the government says about the country's economic crisis.

"Listen to us, not because we are more truthful than others, but because we are more aware than others of the magnitude of the challenge," the president was reported as saying in the National News.

Ordinary people's attempts to discover or interpret the economic crisis cause "confusion and deepen people's alarm," he added.

"Did we enter a war in which we squandered the state's money? Did we embark on adventures in which we used the state's money? Enough with the nonsense already."

The government has released an austerity package which includes a halt on spending money on new projects requiring US dollars and that state entities get government approval to allocate foreign currency.

Egypt is suffering from a shortage of dollars and escalating external debt and imports from abroad have been heavily restricted.

In 2016 the government devalued the pound and took out a $12 billion loan from the IMF.

READ: Egypt: Inflation up to 22% in December

In the last 12 months Egypt has devalued the national currency three times and taken out another $3 billion IMF loan, having also received $2.8 billion in 2020.

The global coronavirus pandemic followed by the war in Ukraine have further damaged Cairo's economy as one of the world's largest wheat importers.

Among the restrictions introduced is on foreign travel for state officials with the approval of the prime minister, excluding defence, health sector and interior ministry officials, and state agencies providing vital commodities.

The measures also included suspending the import of non-essential foreign goods.

The Egyptian government has come under heavy criticism for its pursuit of vanity projects, which have cost eye watering sums yet done little to alleviate the problems common citizens face.The New Administrative capital cost Egypt $45 billion but will contain apartments few people can afford and use resources that could be better channelled elsewhere.

In 2015 Al-Sisi oversaw the expansion of the Suez Canal at a cost of $8 billion with the head of the Suez Canal Agency in 2014 predicting that revenues would reach $100 billion a year. In 2018 revenues hit only $5.7 billion a year.

The Egyptian president has made various outlandish requests throughout the country's economic crisis, including suggesting citizens eat tree leaves as prices soar, donate their spare change to charitable projects, lose weight to save money and sacrifice their dinner for the sake of the country.

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