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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Gov’t to announce EGP 15 bn social protection package in July to offset rising prices

Gov’t to announce EGP 15 bn social protection package in July: The government is planning to further reinforce the social safety net at the beginning of July to offset the impact of the planned electricity and fuel hikes, unnamed government sources tell Al Mal. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had previously announced the package would be rolled out in Ramadan. The measures will include a “marginal” increase in the monthly allowance ration card holders use to purchase subsidized commodities, in addition to an across-the-board “exceptional” wage increase for civil servants. The sources did not disclose further details on the size of either increase. Overall spending on commodity subsidies is expected to rise 36.6% next year to EGP 86.18 bn. The Planning Ministry had also reportedly amended the Civil Service Act’s executive regulations to pave the way for public sector employees to get bigger annual raises.

The measures will be less extensive than those in the EGP 85 bn package the government rolled out last year before raising fuel prices 55% at the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year, the government source notes. These included increasing state pensions, monthly allowances under the Takaful and Karama cash subsidy programs, and implementing a 7% annual raise and 7% hardship raise for state bureaucrats, among others.

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