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Monday, 23 March 2020

Economic measures to combat covid-19 top story on talk shows

The government’s spending package to tackle covid-19 took center stage on the airwaves last night: Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi covered yesterday’s cabinet meeting during which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced that the central bank would allocate EGP 20 bn to support share prices on the EGX alongside other economic measures. He stressed that this package would not have been possible without the country going through three years of economic reform (watch, runtime: 0:57), (watch, runtime: 2:51). Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 5:32) and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary ( watch, runtime: 11:20) also covered the president’s statement.

El Hekaya's Amr Adib spoke by phone with Mohamed Farid, the head of stock exchange, to discuss the news (watch, runtime: 5:36). We have more on the CBE support for the EGX in this morning’s Speed Round below, and more on El Sisi’s speech in What We’re Tracking Today.

Lamees talks economic policy with Hala El Said: El Hadidi spoke via phone with Planning Minister Hala El Said to review the economic measures taken by the government in response to covid-19. El Said said the Sisi administration is focused on supporting local production and exporters and cushioning citizens from the blow of the novel coronavirus. The measures have been devised with a timeframe that sees the worst of the crisis over by the end of June, she said (watch, runtime: 16:21). Min Masr’s Amr Khalil (watch, runtime: 8:39) had the same report.

(Have we mentioned, lately, how good it is to have Lamees back on air?)

What the bankers are saying: El Hadidi also spoke with Akef El Maghraby, deputy head of Banque Misr, who said that the bank would postpone collecting loan installments, and waive credit card and ATM withdrawal fees for the next six months in line with a recent central bank directive. He also noted that the bank has seen a healthy demand for its new 15% certificates (watch, runtime: 14:46).

It could take a while for the tourism sector to regroup: El Hadidi spoke with Hossam El Shaer, the head of the Federation of Tourism Chambers, who said that the countries which most of Egypt’s tourists come from — Italy, Germany, and Russia — are still struggling to contain the virus, meaning the Tourism Ministry is not expecting a revival of the sector any time soon. He said the downtime will be used to deep clean Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh’s hotels, such that they will be entirely “covid-19 free” by the first week of April (watch, runtime: 4:51).

The daily covid-19 update: El Hadidi covered the Health Ministry’s report of 33 new cases of covid-19, bringing the total to 327. She noted that there were four new deaths and that a total of 74 patients have recovered since the outbreak (watch, runtime: 3:03). Adib (watch, runtime: 2:51) and El Hosary (watch, runtime: 1:13) had the same report.

Medical supplies ample: Adib also spoke by phone with cabinet spokesman Hany Younis who discussed the Health Ministry’s crisis team meeting which focused on how to handle potential shortages of medical supplies. The Finance Ministry would offer support to ensure adequate stocking in the event of supply shortages, he said (watch, runtime: 9:11).

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