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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

El Garhy talks IMF loan, inflation, and public sector wage raises on Masaa DMC

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy’s interview with Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hossary was the only topic of real interest on the airwaves last night.

Egypt should receive the fourth tranche of its USD 12 bn extended fund facility from the IMF by the end of the current fiscal year in June, El Garhy said (watch, runtime: 3:48).

The minister discussed Egypt’s rising debt levels and the blow the tourism industry received in 2011 (watch, runtime: 7:31), as he spoke to El Hossary about challenges facing the economy, among them the population boom. He also outlined how the government is strengthening the social safety net and emphasized that the state sees inflation falling to 13% before the end of 2018 (watch, runtime: 5:45).

The government is also considering increasing public sector wages and pensions in the fiscal year starting July, El Garhy said, adding that the Ismail government has earmarked EGP 240 bn for employee salaries in FY2017-18 (watch, runtime: 3:25). He dismissed rumors that the government is planning to downsize and lay off staff.

El Garhy also discussed the drive behind the financial inclusion initiative, which aims to bring more individuals and businesses into the formal economy and banking system (watch, runtime: 5:16).

Endowments Ministry cashing in? EFG Hermes, Beltone, and CI Capital have been tapped to help the Religious Endowments Ministry restructure its asset portfolio, whichinitial findings have valued at EGP 800 bn, Endowments Authority head Ahmed Abdel Hafez told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. The figure could round off to EGP 1 tn once the survey is complete in two-months’ time, he said, explaining that the authority is hoping to turn its holdings profitable, earning around EGP 1 bn this year, and EGP 3 bn in three-years’ time (watch, runtime: 20:50). Abdel Hafez also told Lamees that the ministry owns land and real estate overseas in Greece that is being managed by sovereign officials (watch, runtime: 14:26).

Meanwhile, Egyptian Council of Churches secretary general Rev. Refaat Fathy welcomed the Ismail Cabinet’s decision to grant licenses to 53 churches, telling Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin that the executive regs to the Church Construction Act should be issued soon (watch, runtime: 4:13). Lamees pointed out that those would be the first churches to receive licenses since the act was issued in 2016 (watch, runtime: 33:29).

Bashing the BBC’s documentary on human rights in Egypt was still a top priority for Kol Youm’s Amr Adib, who interviewed a woman he said was Zubaida — the young woman whose mother claimed on the film had been forcibly disappeared — in a bid to discredit Orla Guerin’s controversial report. Zubaida said she had been living with her husband and had not seen her mother, who herself is a supporter of the Ikhwan, in over a year (watch, runtime: 1:05).

Sherif Amer was the only talk show host to discuss the anticipated return of Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt (watch, runtime: 00:48). While on Hona Al Asema, Lamees dedicated substantial airtime to the inauguration of a new anti-terror military command center east of Suez (watch, runtime: 33:29).

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