Our daily roundup of Last Night’s Talk Shows returns just in time for Lamees Al Hadidi’s busy night interviewing a number of high-profile industry executives in an econ-heavy episode of Hona Al Asema.
AmCham President Tarek Tawfik had a chat with Lamees about the economic reform agenda, which he said is imperative to continue attracting investment. Tawfik explained that reforms have been pushing Egypt’s industrial framework to change, with companies increasingly turning their backs on imports in favor of manufacturing, assembly, and exports. Tourism, food production, and agriculture have so far reaped the greatest benefits of reforms (watch, runtime 9:53).
Domty Vice Chairman Mohamed El Damaty, however, says reforms have hurt the food industry. While the sector is showing very early signs of recovery, there remains the issue of consumer purchasing power, which is still suffering as a result of the float and the removal of energy subsidies. High interest rates are unsustainable for the sector, according to Damaty (watch, runtime 4:04).
Lamees also spoke to EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid about the rebound in foreign portfolio investment. Farid said foreign appetite for Egyptian equities is up more than 13x YTD (watch, runtime 5:39).
Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby said the EGP float breathed new life into the nation’s banks, which now have stronger FCY positions and can easily cover the demands of importers. He noted that the current FX rate is largely stable across banks, all of which are buying and selling USD without restraint. On a broader scale, El Etreby pointed to improvements in remittances and the CBE’s FX reserves, rising exports, and the gradual return of tourism as the fruits of economic reform. As for concerns about hot money, El Etreby said that the carry trade shows no sign of going away even though T-bills are yielding 15% today, down from 18% previously.
El Etreby also took a moment to discuss his bank’s newly minted office in Moscow, which he said will offer consultative services to Russian investors eyeing the Egyptian market (watch, runtime 7:34).
Over on Kol Youm, controversial TV host Islam El Behery told Amr Adib about his most trouble with the law, after several news outlets reported yesterday that a court ruling had suspended his show Maa Islam on Al Qahera Wel Nas and barred him from appearing on satellite TV. The host, who had been accused by Al Azhar of attacking Islamic law, said the show has been defunct since 2015 and said a court order can’t keep him from appearing on TV since it would be unconstitutional. El Behery told Adib that he is already back on his feet after a year-long stint in prison, as he is currently hosting one show and is gearing up for another three (watch, runtime 16:00).
Adib spoke to Samih Sawiris about the technicalities of naming the Zewail Science and Technology City, which Sawiris reassured Adib will still be known as Zewail City despite it officially being named The Renaissance Project (watch, runtime 13:13).
Adib also showcased a report about Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil’s inauguration of an SME industrial complex in Suez, which will offer technical training for vocational education students (watch, runtime 3:00).
Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ayman Hamza told Masaa’ DMC’s Eman El Hosary that the ministry has received some 2.34 mn complaints via its hotline over the past two months, the majority of which were about technical issues or consumers’ power bills (watch, runtime: 7:35).
Supply Ministry spokesperson Mohamed Sewed also phoned in to explain that a recent decision forcing subsidized good retailers to pay 25% of the value of their goods as a security deposit means to curb black market sales. Sewed told El Hosary that this system replaces previous punitive measures where grocers would pay a nominal fine if found guilty of graft. However, Grocers’ Syndicate head Maged Nady said the system is harmful and unnecessary since the distribution of subsidized goods is closely monitored now (watch, runtime 11:49).
Over on Yahduth fi Masr, Sherif Amer spoke to Supreme Media Council head Makram Mohamed Ahmed, who said the Arab Quartet’s information ministers agreed during a meeting that more countries need to join the boycott of the Statelet.