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Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Last Night’s Talk Shows on the return of covid

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait was back on the airwaves last night, phoning in to Ala Mas’ouleety to discuss the preliminary FY 2021-2022 budget figures released yesterday, which saw the budget deficit narrow markedly to 6.1% of GDP and the primary surplus fall to 1.3% (watch, runtime: 39:25). The figures also received coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:32). We have more on the figures in this morning’s news well, above.

Worth noting from the interview:

  • The war in Ukraine has almost doubled our import bill: Egypt is currently spending USD 9.5 bn every month on imports, up from USD 5 bn prior to the war, the minister said.
  • No fresh news from the IMF: Maait said that talks with the Fund over a fresh assistance programme are continuing but didn’t provide new info on how the negotiations are progressing or when we could see a breakthrough.
  • In the alternative universe: If it hadn’t been for that coronavirus, Egypt would be running a 5% budget deficit by now, he said.

Speaking of the rona…: Egypt saw a 7% increase in covid cases last week, which the Health Ministry attributed to the outbreak of omicron sub-variants that are more transmissible, a decline in immunity, and members of the public no longer following precautionary measures. Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffa told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 2:13) that the pandemic is still present among us and people need to ensure they are up to date with their covid vaccinations and continue to wear face masks. Ittihadiya health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag El Din said we’re seeing a 7-8% daily increase in local covid cases, during a phone-in with Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime:15:49).

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