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Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Maait extends media blitz for a second day

We tuned into another episode of Maait TV last night: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait joined Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 1:13:34) last night for a long, extensive interview to discuss the economy, the measures taken yesterday to release goods stuck in ports, and of course, fake news.

First thing’s first, more targets: The minister was keen to repeat fiscal targets for the current year, reminding show host Ahmed Moussa that the ministry expects tax revenues to rise 23% this fiscal year to EGP 1.5 tn.

More importantly: Imports. Maait described the emergency measures taken yesterday to help ease the crisis in Egypt’s ports, where goods have been trapped for the past five months due to import restrictions imposed by the central bank. We have more on all of this in the news well, above.

Questions remain on L/Cs + currency: When pushed by Moussa on whether there will be exemptions or changes to import rules, Maait declined to comment and said that any changes are the responsibility of the central bank and the Trade Ministry.

Moussa also asked Maait whether or not the IMF had demanded we float the EGP. Maait sidestepped the question, saying: “We are stakeholders in the fund and we have the right to negotiate any proposals attached to potential programs the Fund offers… especially during challenging or exceptional conditions,” he said.

FAKE NEWS WATCH- Maait doubled down on his critique of how the press is covering the economic crisis, claiming that the country is facing a “targeted wave” of negative reporting on the economy. “These reports incite concerns and panic that could harm the country, its people, its stability and its future,” he said.

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