What we’re tracking on Monday, 22 August
There’s no word yet on the report from the House committee investigating fraud in this year’s wheat harvest, which was supposed to have been submitted to the House Speaker yesterday. Amid the delay, Supply Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Diab was forced to deny rumors that Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy had resigned. Members of the investigating committee have not been shy about placing responsibility for what they see as widespread corruption in the harvest at Hanafy’s doorstep. MPs have also called his integrity into question by accusing him of misappropriating state funds to stay at the Semiramis Intercontinental.
Pharma sector regulator coming? “There is an urgent need to bring to light a ‘pharmaceuticals authority’ to better regulate the sector,” said Essam El Qady, a member of the House Health Committee. El Qady said the House will take today an “important decision” to address the nationwide shortage of medication, which he said persists despite manufacturers having been granted permission by Cabinet in May 2016 to hike prices on products under EGP 30.
VAT vote, delayed wheat investigation report and now talk of a pharma sector regulator? Don’t these people want to cut us a break and go on summer recess?
On a thankfully a slow news night day, we bring you “Chronicles of a Substitute Teacher” (or: “The Life and Times of the Speaker of the House”): House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal does not get the credit he deserves for babysitting the House (when he is not calling for the extermination of FX traders, that is). Two of his most memorable lines yesterday, as reported in the domestic press: “If everyone gets a chance to talk, we won’t be done over here” and “Stop talking on your phones or I’ll turn on the scrambler”. Eat your heart out, Principal Skinner. We can imagine his drawer filled with confiscated slingshots and the back of his chair peppered with spitballs. These are the “elected representatives” working on legislation key to our economic future, ladies and gentlemen.
We’re DFL (or nearly so). Egypt finished the Rio Olympics ranked number three — by greatest number of last-place finishes, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Brazil had the greatest number of last-place, second-to-last and third-to-last finishes, followed by Australia, Egypt, Japan and the United States. Egypt had 23 finishes in the bottom three to Australia’s 29 and Brazil’s 45.