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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Garhy denies Reuters report that government has set FX rate at EGP 17.5 per greenback in FY2018-19 budget

Economy was the order of the day on the airwaves last night, with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and EGX head Mohamed Farid both phoning into Hona Al Asema for a chat with Lamees Al Hadidi.

The government has not yet settled on the FX rate it will be using for the FY2018-19 budget, El Garhy told Lamees, denying a Reuters report claiming the rate has been set at EGP 17.5 per greenback. El Garhy confirmed that the House of Representatives will receive the state budget for the next fiscal year before the end of March, once it’s passed through Cabinet and Ittihadiya. He also told Lamees that he expects GDP growth this year to stand between 5.35-5.5% and climb to 6% the year after.

The next tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn loan from the IMF should be disbursed by the end of the fiscal year in June, El Garhy also said. An IMF delegation is expected to land in Cairo in May for its next review of the economic reform program before it signs off on the USD 2 bn tranche.

El Garhy also told Lamees about Egypt’s plans to issue EUR 1-1.5 bn in eurobonds in April (watch, runtime: 57:46). While economic expert Sherif Delawar told Kol Youm’s Amr Adib that Ittihadiya should form a committee to manage Egypt’s foreign debt (watch, runtime: 30:13)

The EGX is expecting at least two IPOs between March and April, as investors are now viewing Egypt in a more positive lights thanks to “tough reforms,” bourse chief Farid told Lamees (watch, runtime: 5:52).

Private sector participation in the development and management of the railway sector is now an “urgent necessity,” Egyptian Center for Economic Studies head Abdel Moneim Al Sayed told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Nahawand Serry. Not only is it suffering from overly worn out infrastructure, but the railway network is also not being utilized efficiently or to its full potential, Al Sayed said, explaining that Egypt should consider introducing railway cargo transport to ease some of the pressure on its roads (watch, runtime: 7:16).

Legislative amendments were also on the talking heads’ radars, after the House of Representatives approved penal code amendments that set the death penalty as punishment for use for use of explosives in terror attacks. Adib was all in favor and particularly pleased by clauses that impose the same penalty on manufacturers of explosive devices created to commit an act of terrorism (watch, runtime: 10:11). DMC’s Osama Kamal also nodded along (watch, runtime: 2:34).

The challenges facing university students in Sinai due to the military’s anti-terror campaign had Lamees Al Hadidi call up Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, who said the ministry was studying different options for students to resume their studies (watch, runtime: 6:23). Among those options is an online tutoring platform, according to Al Monitor. Vice also shines the spot on “What It’s Like to Go to College in a War Zone.”

As for the supply of food commodities to the restive region, Food Industries Holding Company head Alaa Fahmy reassured Lamees that the government is doing its best to meet residents’ needs (watch, runtime: 1:43). North Sinai Medical Syndicate head Salah Sallam, however complained to Lamees about a surge in prices and deficiency in supply, claiming that a carton of eggs is going for as much as EGP 100 (watch, runtime: 2:21).

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman caused less of a buzz on his last day in Cairo. Lamees did a brief recap of the visit and asked the government to provide more details on Egypt’s recent agreement with Saudi to develop a stretch of NEOM in South Sinai (watch, runtime: 5:39). While Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal had a chat with Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf about MbS’ meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, which mainly tackled economic cooperation, he said (watch, runtime: 5:21).

Meanwhile, fears of a low voter turnout at the upcoming presidential elections plagued Adib, who boisterously “urged” his audience to participate (watch, runtime: 6:32).

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