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Monday, 16 January 2017

El Garhy makes the rounds following presser on Egypt’s fiscal position; Adib reads price controls are coming from El Sisi’s interview

On ONTV’s Kol Youm, Amr Adib is interpreting President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interview with state-owned papers as foreshadowing price controls. “It feels like a plan is in the works to impose a cap on profit margins” he said (watch, runtime 10:51). The president said that the EGP should begin strengthening in six months’ time, according to Al Akhbar Editor in-Chief Yasser Rizk (watch, runtime 14:40). (We have more on El Sisi’s interview in Speed Round, below.)

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy made the rounds with the talk shows last night to build on momentum created by his presser earlier in the day (details on the later are in Speed Round, below).

Lamees El Hadidy had a lengthy phone interview with El Garhy on last night’s Hona Al Assema, covering everything from the IMF loan to the eurobond roadshow and the VAT. On the IMF agreement, El Garhy said that the details of the agreement will be disclosed on Wednesday. The Fund will also be conducting its review of the government’s economic reform program between the end of February and early March and the minister expects the second USD 1.25 bn tranche of the loan to follow. El Garhy did not confirm whether an IMF team was coming this week to discuss progress on tax reform. Speaking of which, the minister puts tax revenues in 1HFY2016-17 at EGP 155 bn of the EGP 220 bn total revenues he announced at the presser (watch, runtime 13:49).

In a call-in to ‘Ala Al Hawa Masr, El Garhy disputed the characterization of the IMF facility as a loan in the conventional sense of the word. The funding is a three-year facility to support a reform agenda, he stressed. Semantics and spin are the order of the day when one deals with the highly active imagination of the public. His call-in also stressed the importance of subsidy cuts to the reform agenda, which he described as a five-year plan launched when President Abdel Fattah El Sisi became president (watch; runtime: 10:42).

MBC’s Sherif Amer spent most of his episode of Yahduth Fi Masr talking to the governors of Minya, Fayoum, Gharbiya, Behaira, Sharqiya, Damietta, and Ismailia about the main challenges they face in their provinces. Topping the list: Sanitation and water infrastructure. Fayoum governor Gamal Samy said 70% of the population of his governorate lack access to proper sanitation facilities.
Infrastructure issues in Upper Egypt was also the topic of choice for Lobna Assal,spoke with Electricity Ministry Spokesperson Ayman Hamza on Al Hayah Al Youm. Hamza said electrical services in Upper Egypt are back to normal after hourlong cuts in some areas earlier in the week. (watch, runtime 4:43).

Assal also spoke to Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Hamed Abdel Dayem about the increase in fertilizer prices. Abdel Dayem promised the government would be looking at the prices it pays farmers (watch, runtime 2:46).

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