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Sunday, 24 February 2019

Supply Ministry announces second phase of its subsidy rolls purge

Subsidies are back in the spotlight after the Supply Ministry announced it is going ahead with the second phase of its purge of subsidy rolls. The talking heads were surprisingly understanding of the move and rather less prone to grandstanding than they usually would on the topic.

Kramers are being purge from the welfare rolls: Longtime readers know that a “Kramer” is Enterprise-speak is anyone who is mooching off the state’s welfare program, which most prominently includes the subsidy program, but which extends to other welfare services, too.

Both live and undead Kramers are being purged: Live Kramers include folks who earn too much to qualify for social assistance (or who have moved abroad). Undead Kramers are folks who have shrugged off this mortal coil, but whose family members continue to claim their welfare benefits.

The ministry set out new (and sensible) criteria for what qualifies a person as a Kramer. These include those whose average monthly electricity consumption exceeds 650 KW and those whose monthly phone bill exceeds EGP 800. Those spending more than EGP 30,000 on school fees for their child at an international school can also expect to be cut from the welfare rolls, while those owning a luxury car made in 2014 or newer had best stock up on their last subsidized bread and tea. Are you a senior corporate officer? You’re off the list, too, ministry spokesperson Ahmed Kamal told Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 06:51).

Kramer’s cards will stop working on 1 March, and anyone looking to appeal can do that through the Ministry’s website, Kamal added. He made the rounds of the airwaves last night to discuss the purge. See, for example: Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 09:23).

In a sign that the purge could hold widespread appeal, El Hekaya ‘s Amr Adib — known to take grandstanding positions against subsidy cuts — agrees with the decision and even attempted to shame Kramers (watch, runtime: 03:45). Adib phoned Amr Madkor, who consults for the Supply Ministry, who said that there is no deadline for appeals from those cut from the list (watch, runtime: 03:34).

Today’s EU-Arab League Summit is being widely anticipated by the talking heads, with Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 07:00) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 01:26) taking note of the world leaders arriving. The summit speaks to Egypt’s standing in the world order, they said.

The launch of EGYPT SAT A received some coverage with Hona Al Asema noting the successful deployment of the satellite, which will be used — among other things — to figure out who is illegally building on state land (watch, runtime: 03:36).

Over in the political gutter, Amr Adib was transfixed by a Twitter beef between former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed El Baradei and former Tamarod protest group member Mahmoud Badr. Adib phoned Badr, who said that he was shocked at what he says is El Baradei trying to distance himself from the 30 June 2013 protests (watch, runtime: 07:20). Moving along…

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