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Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Last Night’s Talk Shows: Transport updates aplenty + Mostafa Bakry doesn’t like Naguib

Things we learned on the airwaves last night: The country’s new local development minister, Hisham Amna, was not seriously hurt in his car crash yesterday; Rep. Mostafa Bakry really doesn’t like Naguib Sawiris (shocker); and…

Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir hit us with a barrage of updates on various transport projects in an interview on Ala Mas’ouleety. Here are the highlights:

#1- The upcoming hikes to metro and train fares won’t come into effect until the government’s new social security measures are fully implemented and have given the country’s most vulnerable citizens some respite from the soaring cost of living, El Wazir said (watch, runtime: 4:41). The ministry hasn’t confirmed how much prices will rise but the minister said earlier this month that they wouldn’t climb by more than 25%. A package of new measures to protect the poorest from rising inflation — including an expansion of the Takaful and Karama program and increased support for ration card holders — are set to come into effect as of 1 September.

#2- Bashteel station will be finished by the end of the year: About 75% of construction on the Bashteel rail station has been completed and the ministry hopes to complete the station by December. The station lies between Ramses and Giza and aims to alleviate congestion at the Ramses station (watch, runtime: 6:29).

#3- Egypt does not have any plans to sell its ports or railways, but will continue to focus on partnering with private companies to operate and manage its assets, the minister said (watch, runtime: 6:49). Several recently-announced projects will see foreign companies expand the capacities of several Egyptian ports: AP Moller-Maersk is expected to invest USD 500 mn to develop the East Port Said port while Hutchison Ports could spend USD 800 mn alongside other multinationals to develop the ports at Sokhna and Dekheila.

#4- The National Egyptian Railway Industries Company (NERIC) will begin assembling electric locomotives at its East Port Said factory in mid-2023, shifting the timeline for the second time from the end of 2022 (watch, runtime: 6:09). The company was set up in late 2020 as a JV between several private-sector firms, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and the Transport Ministry.

Local development minister escapes car crash with minor injuries: Hisham Amna, who was sworn in as the country’s new local development minister just two days ago, was involved in a road accident on the Wadi El Natrun-Alamein road yesterday. The minister is reportedly just fine and only suffered mild bruising in the collision (Statement | watch, runtime: 6:09).

B’naire Naguib Sawiris came under fire yesterday from Rep. Mostafa Bakry, who accused him of “inciting hostility against the state” and “spreading fake news” after tweeting a call for an investigation to find the “perpetrator” of the Abu Sefein church fire in Imbaba on Sunday. An enraged Bakry called on the prosecutor-general to open an investigation into Sawiris, who he accused of inciting hatred and violence in an interview with TEN TV’s Nashaat El Deehy (watch, runtime: 2:05). Sawiris’ tweet came on the day of the fire, which authorities said was caused by a short circuit in an A/C unit.

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