Last Night’s Talk Shows on 22 November 2020
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait headlined the talk shows last night, dropping into Ala Mas’ouleety to discuss the IMF’s review of the economy and the disbursement of the next tranche of the USD 5.2 bn standby loan (watch, runtime: 23:29). We have full coverage in this morning’s Speed Round, below.
Second round of stimulus gets the go-ahead: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has authorised the government to deploy a new round of stimulus to support the economy through a second wave of the virus, Maait said. He declined to say how much money would be made available. The ministry still has some bullets left in its chamber from last time, having spent only EGP 65 bn of its original EGP 100 bn fiscal package. The president has also directed the government to ensure there is money allocated to pay grants to day laborers, the minister said.
Maait reeled off a handful of stats to demonstrate that Egypt had successfully navigated its economy through choppy waters. Egypt is among the just 15% of countries that have avoided economic contraction this year — and the only country to enjoy a positive growth rate of more than 2% in the MENA region. The minister said more than 100k jobs are created for every percentage point of economic growth, and that there have been 300-400k new jobs in spite of the pandemic.
The state is getting serious with its covidiot crackdown: Al Hayah Al Youm's Lobna Assal phoned Cairo Metro spokesperson Ahmed Abd El Hadi, who suggested that teams of plain-clothes police officers are now patrolling stations across the capital in search of people breaking covid protocol. El Hadi said that there is no fixed fine for being caught without a mask on the metro and that violators will be referred to prosecution who will determine the size of the penalty. Around 1k fines were issued on Friday alone, he said (watch, runtime: 6:47). Assal also phoned Khaled Kassem, spokesperson for the Local Development Ministry, who confirmed that shops caught violating precautionary measures would be forced to shut for three days (watch, runtime: 6:01).
We know a little bit more about the new regulations governing opening hours: Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi phoned Adel Al Masry, head of the Tourism Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, who said that the Tourism Minister confirmed that nightclubs across the country would be forced close at 2am, and cabarets and live music venues at 3am. Al Masry voiced support for the new rules and said they will review them with the Tourism minister after their introduction (watch, runtime: 6:35).
Heavy rain sparks flooding in Alex, Kafr El Sheikh: Alexandria governor Mohamed El Sherif appeared on Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 9:32), Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 7:58) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 16:55) to respond to the flooding in Alexandria over the weekend. El Sherif blamed the city’s poor infrastructure and climate change for the flooding. When pushed by Lamees on why the infrastructure had not been upgraded, El Sherif said the EGP 13-15 bn price tag is too expensive and installing new drainage systems would be too disruptive for the city. Schools will operate as usual this week, he added. Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary phoned Kafr El Sheikh governor Gamal Nour El Din, who said that all rainwater has been drained from the streets (watch, runtime: 3:26). Cairo governorate spokesperson Ibrahim Awad (watch, runtime: 5:48) told El Hosary about the death of a girl who was electrocuted by a damaged power cable.