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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Universal Healthcare Act passed, Interior Ministry ramps up security preparations ahead of holiday season

The passage of the Universal Healthcare Act, the Interior Ministry’s security preparations for the upcoming holiday season and delays in the distribution of ration cards were among the business-relevant topics on the airwaves last night.

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi spoke to Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait about the Universal Healthcare Act, which the House of Representatives passed in plenary session yesterday (we have the full story in Speed Round, below). Maait said the healthcare scheme includes requirements for the government to gradually improve services at public hospitals and clinics — and stipulate that citizens may receive medical care at a private facility. Maait also confirmed that cigarette prices will rise only six months after the legislation goes into effect (watch, runtime: 8:31).

Egypt’s draft resolution at the Security Council received 14 “yes” votes, which confirms the international community’s policy on Jerusalem is nearly uniform, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid told Lamees. Abou Zeid pointed specifically to countries such as the UK, France, and Ethiopia — with whom Egypt may not always see eye-to-eye on other issues — as evidence. He also said that Egypt and other Arab countries have the right to call for a UN General Assembly session on Palestine’s behalf if it so wishes (we have more in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below) (watch, runtime: 4:29).

Picking up where Lamees left off earlier this week, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib sat down with Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy to discuss his price-printing policy. The minister said that all importers and distributors of food products will be required to submit documents proving the origin of the goods and the prices at which they bought them. El Moselhy continued to defend the policy as a measure that would ensure price transparency if applied correctly (watch, runtime: 1:27).

El Moselhy also said that, if the market continues to be regulated correctly, prices will not increase next year. He noted to Adib that many of the commodities provided by the ministry have seen their prices fall recently as the government has been working to increase supply and strategic reserves, which he says are currently enough to cover 4-5 months of consumption (watch, runtime: 2:26).

Persistent bureaucracy is to blame for the delays in distributing new ration cards to subsidy recipients, El Moselhy said. He noted that the process of updating subsidy card holders’ database took far longer than expected due to the sheer volume of individuals in the system, but many cards that have been printed were not distributed because of a bureaucratic glitch (watch, runtime: 4:08).

Over on Masaa DMC, Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council member Khaled Okasha told host Eman El Hosary that security forces preemptively raided terrorist hideouts in Alexandria, Qalyubiya, and the New Valley. The terrorists killed and arrested during the raids were allegedly planning fresh attacks. The raids are part of the Interior Ministry’s preparations for the holiday season, which often sees a spike in terror attacks (watch, runtime: 6:44).

Security sources also told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer that the Interior Ministry is working on securing churches across Egypt during the holiday season by dispatching a large number of personnel to stand guard.

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