The nation’s talking heads had much to discuss last night, including the government’s price for sugarcane it purchases from local farmers and the apparent defamation of a Good Samaritan.
Filling in for Lamees Al Hadidi on Hona Al Asema, Lama Gebril spoke to Farmers’ Syndicate head Hussein Abo Saddam, who said that the price set by the government for sugarcane — EGP 700 per tonne — is unfair to farmers. Each 1 kg bag of sugar retails for EGP 9.5, which means that a tonne of sugarcane should cost EGP 1,000 to allow farmers a fair profit margin, Abo Saddam said (watch, runtime: 5:55).
House Agriculture Committee member Abdel Hamid El Demerdash phoned in to tell Gebril that it remains unclear how the government settled on the rate, claiming that farmers and sugar manufacturers use a hitherto unknown formula to calculate their costs and expenses. He suggested that the government sit down with sugarcane farmers to reach a middle ground on the pricing strategy (watch, runtime: 5:31).
Earlier in the day, the Farmer’s Syndicate announced that many farmers had intended to boycott the government with the start of the season to protest the low prices, according to Ahram Gate. We had reported earlier this week that the government had agreed to raise sugarcane prices to EGP 800 per tonne.
Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin hosted Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, who recapped the main facts and figures of the Universal Healthcare Act, including premiums citizens will be required to pay into the system and taxes that will be levied to finance the scheme. Maait noted that state coffers can’t afford to provide free healthcare to all citizens under the new system, and that countries which do offer free coverage require citizens to pay higher taxes (watch, runtime: 29:26).
Kol Youm’s Amr Adib fixated on the backlash against the Interior Ministry, which is beingaccused of trying to “defame” Salah El Mogy the citizen who attacked the terrorist behind Friday’s events at Helwan’s Mar Mina church. Security forces have claimed since the incident that El Mogy has a criminal record, causing people to criticize the ministry for trying to steal El Mogy’s thunder after he helped thwart the attack. Adib had a long talk with Cairo University media professor Samy Abdel Aziz about the general decline in media ethics in recent years, that has culminated in the defamation of innocent citizens (watch, runtime: 9:27).
Over on Yahduth fi Masr, political commentator Mostafa El Fekki told Sherif Amer that a four-year term is not enough for a president to properly implement a comprehensive national strategy. He also said that the challenges during the next presidential term include developing the country’s anti-terrorism tools and carrying on with national projects to help them bear fruit.