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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Last Night’s Talk Shows on 19 November 2020

New opening hours for retail shops and restaurants were revealed on the talk shows last night — and they’re just as confusing as we feared. Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad was on with Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa to lay out the new rules, which he confirmed will come into force on 1 December (watch, runtime: 28:10). Here’s what we know:

  • Stores will need to close at 10pm in winter and 11 pm in the summer, but they’ll be allowed to stay open an hour later on holidays and weekends.
  • Cafes and restaurants will now close at midnight during the winter and 1am in the summer
  • BUT: They’ll be able to close one hour later on weekends and official holidays.
  • Plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other small neighborhood workshops will close at 7pm in the summer, but it’s unclear when they might close in winter.
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies will be exempt from the new closing times and can open and close their doors whenever they want.

But Enterprise, when does winter become summer and summer become winter? We have no idea. Hopefully we’ll get some solid dates before the rules come into force.

But, but, but… It gets more complicated: “Governorates dependent on tourism” will have a different patchwork of opening hours, Saad said, without getting into specifics. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 3:56) and Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan also had coverage (watch, runtime: 1:50).

Al Mashat talks development finance: Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat also appeared on Ala Mas’ouleety to discuss the year in development finance. Egypt has secured some USD 7.3 bn in foreign funding so far this year, USD 4.54 bn of which has gone into public sector projects while USD 2.76 bn has been used to support the private sector.

Although all of this is pushing up Egypt’s external debt pile — which is now at USD 111 bn / 28% of GDP according to the latest statistics — Al Mashat emphasized that Egypt has not deferred payment on any of its loans, which is crucial to give investors confidence and attract more investment into the country. Al Mashat also outlined the structural reforms that helped to save Egypt from a covid-induced recession — which we covered yesterday — and talked about how the ministry is trying to promote Egypt’s economic progress through the international media (watch, runtime: 24:09).

Some folks living on Ismail Mohamed Street in Zamalek need to bug out for at least a month: Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa phoned Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir who said that residents of buildings 5 and 7 on Ismail Mohamed Street, Zamalek, will need to evacuate before 1 December for at least a month due to structural problems with the buildings thought to be caused by the construction of the Cairo Metro. The government will pay EGP 1k per day in compensation to residents, he said (watch, runtime: 14:30).

By “at least a month,” we mean “maybe forever”: El Wazir said the buildings may have to be destroyed, in which case residents will be given new flats somewhere else in the city. If they don’t like it, they’re free to file a lawsuit, he said.

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