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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Is the Supreme Tourism Council the “great white hope” of tourism? This may not be a good year for int’l schools; custom breaks for expat cars

The talk of the day in the airwaves last night was the Administrative Control Authority’s (ACA) raid on over 60 public hospitals nationwide last night after reportedly discovering “major violations.” Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer said that the ACA — the nation’s top anti-corruption watchdog — had found expired meds being sold at hospitals. We expect Health Minister Ahmed Rady to be sweating as his name has come up numerous as a potential cut from the cabinet’s next lineup. Over in the Magical Realm of Oz, where Al Ahram is headquartered, the raid was downplayed as simply a sudden mass inspection of 64 hospitals that revealed that everything was running smoothly.

Pro tip: When the nice people from the ACA show up, nothing is “running smoothly.” This is a government agency that is itself above corruption and knows how to get stuff done — one of the few of which private-sector CEOs speak about in uniformly positive (if off-the-record) terms.

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal spoke with Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed on the role of the Supreme Tourism Council as the primary policy-making body on tourism and its recent policy decisions (which we note in the Speed Round). Rashed said that the first meeting of the council, which held yesterday, looked into electronic visas. The first phase of their implementation will be completed by May. The council will also look to implement a minimum charge at hotels. “We also talked about the role of private-sector tourism companies in setting policy for the sector,” he said (watch, runtime: 12:44).

Private and international schools must not raise tuition fees without prior approval from the Education Ministry, said senior ministry official Reda Hegazy (watch, runtime: 6:21). Fee increases are capped at 7% annually, he added. This increasing harsh rhetoric jives with policy statements made over the past few weeks, which signal that the government is stepping up its efforts to curb inflation in private schools. Look for more on this front in the days and weeks ahead.

Assal also spoke with Manpower Minister Mohamed Safaan about a drive to recruit labour from Upper Egypt to work on national projects (watch, runtime: 4:23).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib spoke with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid about TASS’ not-so-eureka moment on his statements regarding the Metrojet crash in 2015. “My statements were taken out of context,” said Abou Zaid, adding that he was only applauding the latest Trump’s statement on overlooked terrorist acts worldwide (watch, runtime: 3:41). He added that he would send a clarification to TASS.

Adib then spoke on the government’s drive to reduce customs on cars belonging to Egyptian expatriates with MP Ghada Agamy (you can catch more details on this in Automotive + Transportation). Agamy appears to miss the point of the move entirely, stating that the bill currently being drafted by the government would be primarily helpful to expats, who like her when she was living the UAE, faced difficulties getting her car back. Since she clearly doesn’t read Enterprise, we’ll remind her that this is all about expats depositing their USD at home. She added that the Immigration Ministry has passed the bill over to the Finance Ministry (watch, runtime: 9:13).

Hona Al Assema’s Lamees Al Hadidi interviewed Sico Technologies chairman Mohamed Salem who discussed the company’s progress in manufacturing the first Egypt-made smart phone. He said that the phone would be out this September. Sico Technologies is already assembling consumer electronics Egypt for export to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Oman. He spoke about the company’s partnership with China’s ZTE (brokered by the CIT Ministry last February), stating that the Chinese company was enthusiastic about investing in Egypt because of the export advantages in Egypt and low production costs after the EGP float (watch, runtime: 22:15).

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