Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Egypt minimum wage raised by Sisi amid economic turmoil

Pay rise applies to all Egyptian workers and pensions will also go up

Egyptians line up in a tent, to submit complaints about the latest subsidy reforms in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt March 28, 2019. All Egyptian workers and pensioners are set to get a pay rise. Reuters
Egyptians line up in a tent, to submit complaints about the latest subsidy reforms in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt March 28, 2019. All Egyptian workers and pensioners are set to get a pay rise. Reuters

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has raised the country's minimum wage to 2,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh424.25) a month from 1,200 pounds, he said at an event on Saturday celebrating women.

Mr Sisi said the raise would apply to all Egyptian workers and added that pensions would rise by 15 per cent, with pensioners receiving a minimum increase of 150 pounds to take the minimum pension to 900 pounds.

"This was supposed to come out on June 30. But I said this matter cannot wait," the president said.

Egypt has implemented a series of tough economic measures, including devaluing the pound, slashing energy subsidies and introducing a value-added tax, to help meet conditions of a $12 billion IMF loan. The measures have left many of Egypt's nearly 100 million people struggling to make ends meet.

Remaining fuel subsidies are expected to be cut around mid-2019, and the petroleum minister said last month Egypt would implement an automatic price indexation mechanism on 95 octane petrol starting in April.

Under the measures announced by Mr Sisi, state employees will receive a raise of 7 per cent, or a minimum of 75 pounds, while those not employed in the civil service will receive a 10 per cent raise, also receiving at least 75 pounds.

All state employees will also get a bonus of 150 pounds to help compensate for inflation, Mr Sisi said, urging Egyptians to alter their spending behaviour to help combat rising prices.

“You want to control prices, don't buy things that get more expensive. The matter is simple. By God, by God, by God, anyone selling and buying wants to profit and be successful – if they find that their prices are exaggerated and people don't go buy their commodities, prices will fall," he said.

The pay increases will cost the state 30.5bn Egyptian pounds in total, Mr Sisi said, noting that more than 300bn pounds would be allocated for salaries in the 2019/2020 budget, up from 270bn in the previous year.

Updated: March 31, 2019 03:32 PM

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