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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Last Night’s Talk Shows: Social media attacks on industry; House unhappy pharma pricing agreement reached without it

Social media campaign attacking Egyptian industry: Hona Al Assema’s Lamees El Hadidy said there is a “campaign” of sorts being waged on social media to “destroy” Egyptian industry. Using the recent flap at Heinz as an example, El Hadidy said, “I started to feel these campaigns are organized and serving a certain agenda.” Mohamed El Damaty, head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ dairy products division and CEO of Domty, phoned in to agree, saying the federation has asked all member companies report campaigns to track down the masterminds (watch, runtime: 10:25).

Lamees briefly mentioned that she is taking legal action against the individuals who allegedly accosted her near St. Mark’s Cathedral last week. “The charge I reported was a murder attempt… I’m sure the Interior Ministry will arrest them because their faces were obvious in the videos shot during the accident,” she said (watch, runtime: 2:06).

The host also covered the World Bank’s approval to disburse USD 1 bn to support job creation and inclusive growth, with International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr telling Lamees that the money will be directed towards development projects in Upper Egypt. “The third tranche is supposed to come in late 2017, but we are working to make it prior to that date,” Nasr added (watch, runtime: 8:04).

Lamees also hosted Egyptian-American space scientist Farouk El Baz, who delved into the challenges facing education in Egypt (watch, runtime: 33:14).

Is the House playing silly buggers on the pharma pricing pact? It would appear the House is trying to torpedo the agreement reached between pharma companies and the Health Ministry over rising prices. House Health Committee member MP Ayman Abul Ela called in to Yahduth fi Masr and told host Sherif Amer that parliament will not allow companies to set prices. He even cast doubt about talk that pharma giant Novartis was exiting Egypt, saying the company had issued a denial. Another House Health Committee member, Ahmed El-Argawy, said an agreement between pharma manufacturers and the Health Ministry should have been put to a discussion in the House of Representatives. “There are alternatives steps that could have been taken to compensate manufacturers … such as exemption from taxes or reducing electricity prices for them,” El Argawy said.

MoI has cybercrime on in its sights: Amer also hosted Ali Abaza, head of the Interior Ministry’s directorate to fight cybercrimes, who said the directorate received more than 6,000 reports of cybercrimes in 2016. The directorate is focusing on Facebook, which Abaza said has around 45 mn users in Egypt.

Bellower-in-Chief Amr Adib isn’t happy with the USD breaking EGP 19.50, going on about everything from the rate used at customs to “who is withdrawing USD from the banks” and his hope that Zohr will be our economic salvation (watch, runtime: 46: 22).

We agree with Amr for once: Adib then pivoted to the Daba’a nuclear plant, saying he’s happy the final contracts have been delayed. “Let [Russia] wait … we will sign when they resume their tourism operations to Egypt,” he said (watch, runtime: 3:11).

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