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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Health spending is now parliament’s crusade of the week

The airwaves provided us with little by way of newsworthy coverage last night, with the notable exception being MPs haggling in parliament to raise the FY2018-19 budget allocation for health.

MPs of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee have turned raising health spending into the crusade of the week (after last week’s “debt crisis”). Committee members are attempting to healthcare spending to EGP 61 bn, from a budgeted EGP 57 bn, MP Ayman Abul Ela told Al Hayah Al Youm. He says that even with this increase, healthcare spending amounts to only 4.3% of GDP, down from 4.7% in FY2017-18. After polishing off his soap box, Abul Ela said that healthcare spending should be increased by EGP 20 bn, channeling his inner Kanye West and proclaiming the government does not prioritize healthcare (watch, runtime: 8:30).

EXCLUSIVE COMEBACK- Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait responded in an exclusive interview with Enterprise that it was all good and well to add spending numbers on paper, but without ways to balance it out through revenues, that’s all they will be.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Also from the House, MPs approved amendments to the Traffic Act governing fines on highways. MP Hisham Abdel Wahed told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that the act is hoped to help fund maintenance on roads, which cost EGP 110 bn during this fiscal year (watch, runtime: 10:32).

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla made the rounds on the airwaves to detail the exploration agreement signed with Eni for the Mediterranean coast off of Sinai, the details of which are covered in the Speed Round. He revealed on Yahduth fi Masr that exploration by the company that brought you Zohr will on the 730k sqm Nour field will begin as soon as the House signs off on the agreement, which he expects will take place in the next 2-3 months (watch, runtime: 2:07).

Meanwhile, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib has signed on as the official Chairman of the Eni fan club, spending some time on his episode fawning over the company and its achievements (watch, runtime: 1:44).

The Ismail cabinet approved the Egypt National Railways’ purchase of four train engines from Austria’s Plasser & Theurer under a funding agreement from the Austrian government. Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat told Yahduth fi Masr that the funding was worth EUR 8 mn to develop the worn-out railway sector.

Startup Argineering won the final round of the weekly CIB-sponsored competition Hona Al Shabab, walking away with EGP 1 mn in funding. Coming in second place was ShopX, which received EGP 300,000, whole third place winner Harmonica was awarded EGP 200,000 (video of the contest was not yet shared by Hona Al Asema).

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