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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Madbouly cabinet address to House leads topics on the airwaves

As with the rest of the local press, the airwaves were chock-full of discussion of the Madbouly Cabinet platform. Unfortunately, the talk was monopolized by members of the House of Representatives, who took the opportunity to praise out of one side of their collective mouth and grandstand out of the other.

MPs really want you to know that the worst of the austerity measures is behind us: The prevailing theme of the night was reassurance that the worst of the economic “sacrifices” of the Egyptian people has passed. In a phone telethon of MPs hosted by Hona Al Asema, Rep. Mohamed Abu Hamed said (in typical dumbed down speak that lacks any actuarial merit) that the government has completed 85% of the reform agenda, with the remaining 15% to be completed in the coming few years. All panelists seemed reassured, however, that the Madbouly plan is a continuation of the reform agenda set out by his predecessor (watch, runtime: 35:00). Rep. Osama Heikal told Al Hayah fi Masr joined the choir, stating that the benefits of the reforms should start trickling down to the masses in the coming few years.

Never miss an opportunity to grandstand: Despite the glowing praise Heikal showered on the plan, Heikal complained that the people were straining under the weight of the reform measures. He said lawmakers were unanimous in the view that the government needs to stop raising prices on certain goods. We won’t bother debating his Bizarro logic (watch, runtime: 6:45).

National Cement Company drama continues: Masaa DMC ran an interview with National Cement Company chairman Mohamed Radwan last Thursday, who accused workers at the plant of being one of the primary reasons why the company is failing (watch, runtime: 9:09). Host Osama Kamal brought the company’s former chairman, Saeed Abdel Moty, among others to discuss the company’s situation (watch, runtime: 8:14).

National Cement’s plight highlights a little aspect of ongoing reform process: Bringing private sector management principles to state companies. The strike became the battleground between the workers (opposed to the restructuring of the failing state company) and the Public Enterprises ministry.

Also last night: Hona Al Asema discussed progress and enrollment in Japanese schools, which kick off this fall, with Education Minister Tarek Shawky (watch, runtime: 8:25). Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer was busy interviewing Egyptian athletes did us proud at the Mediterranean games (watch, runtime: 1:17), while Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal spent the rest of his show interviewing UAE Cabinet Affairs Minister Mohamed Al Gergawi, who praised the state of bilateral ties (watch, runtime: 6:00).

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