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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Last Night’s talk shows

Volatility on the FX market is only natural following the momentous decision to float the EGP as you are effectively changing an entire monetary system for the first time, said Hisham Ezz Al Arab, chairman of CIB, in a call-in to Lamees El Hadidy’s “Hona El Assema.” Ezz Al Arab expects this volatility to ease over the coming three months. He was also Amr Adib’s in-studio guest on ONTV (watch part 1 or part 2)

The float and raising prices are coming late and should have come 20 years ago, Naguib Sawiris said in a call-in to Mehwar TV’s “90 Minutes” talk show (watch, runtime: 8:52). He blamed the delay on the government’s fear of popular opinion — and went on to attack the subsidies program. Naguib again urged the government to move to a cash-based subsidy system, calling on the government to look to Brazil, where the policy worked.

The road show for the USD 3 bn eurobond issue will begin on 20 November, with the issue expected around ten days later, announced Finance Minister Amr El Garhy in a call-in to Lamees (watch, runtime: 11:08). When pressed about whether the budget deficit will grow as a result of float of the EGP, El Garhy responded that the bigger worry was what would have happened if the decision had not been taken. El Garhy was asked by Ali Eissa, head of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, who joined Lamees in studio last night, whether there was any progress on moving to conditional cash payments to the needy instead of providing subsidized commodities. El Garhy noted that this would depend on building the national database, which is already seeing significant progress.

The government is mulling implementing a progressive tax, but the measure remains on the drawing board, not an imminent legislative reality, El Garhy stated in a separate call-in to Sada El Balad’s “Ala Mas’uleety” with the Creature Who Will Not Be Named lest it emerges behind us (watch, runtime: 10:14). The minister denied rumors that the government was actively drafting a new law to impose the tax. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed as much at Friday’s press conference, Al Borsa reports. El Garhy also announced that Suez Canal Bonds will also see an increase in accordance with the 300 bps increase in interest rates, and that these new rates will be announced today.

Back on CBC, Lamees also hosted members of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), who announced a CSR initiative to increase the salaries of workers earning EGP 1,000-1,500 per month by 5-10%. While the FEI’s initiative is voluntary, members of the House of Representatives, who appear to have missed the government announcing that the budget for wages has increased to EGP 230 bn, is already making calls to raise the minimum wage 10%, Al Ahram reports.

You can watch last night’s full Hona El Assema episode here (runtime: 3:20:00; Ezz El Arab’s segment begins at 43:20; FEI’s wages initiative begins at 1:29:33)

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