The airwaves served up an array of topics last night, including concerns over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks and Egypt’s fuel subsidy bill.
The government is sticking to its plans to completely lift fuel subsidies within 4-5 years, but subsidies will remain at their current levels for the remainder of the fiscal year, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees al Hadidi. The state budget has allocated EGP 27.5 bn for fuel subsidies per quarter, but actual spending on these subsidies in 1Q2017-18 came in at EGP 23.5 bn. El Molla said the EGP 4 bn difference is due to a drop in domestic consumption of petroleum and diesel, which has offset the increase in international oil prices. El Molla had said earlier this week that fuel subsidy costs rose 68% y-o-y in 1Q2017-18.
El Molla also announced that the government will be paying USD 750 mn to international oil companies before the end of December.
El Molla also elaborated on talks with Saudi Aramco to refine a portion of its monthly crude oil shipments in Egypt (we have full coverage on that in the Speed Round).
The government is also looking to begin exporting natural gas in 2019, by which time Eni’s Zohr, BP’s Atoll, and several other gas fields will be online (watch, runtime: 18:26).
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister will meet in Cairo in December to discuss the stalemate on the GERD, Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Lamees. In the meantime, Egypt is working on rallying international support for its position to Ethiopia and Sudan in future negotiations. Abu Zeid noted that talks have thus far been carried out on both the technical and political levels, but the lack of agreement between the three countries on the technical side has made it necessary to ramp up the political effort (watch, runtime: 7:02). As we noted earlier in the week, Sudan and Ethiopia have both rejected ratifying the impact studies on the dam.
Kol Youm’s Amr Adib provided color commentary on the GERD issue, saying it’s time for parliament to question Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and the irrigation and agriculture ministers. He also called for a campaign to rationalize water consumption, specifically asking men to use no more than a cup of water while shaving their beards (watch, runtime: 1:44).
And surprisingly, it was Adib, and not Lamees, also took who noted Mohamed El Erian is being considered for Fed Vice Chairman by the White House (watch, runtime: 2:53).
Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady discussed the state land seizures of illegally occupied plots. He told host Tamer Amin that the government intends to reprice land plots to investors reasonably when selling it back to them (watch, runtime: 5:27).