Egypt: Sisi says he will halve salary, private assets

'We can't only count on Arab brothers'. Subsidy cuts expected

24 June, 14:55

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, JUNE 24 - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday announced that, given the economic crisis in Egypt, he will halve his salary and donate half of his private wealth to the State.

    ''I will donate to the State about half of my salary which totals 42 Egyptian pounds'' (about 35 times the minimum salary) ''along with half of the fortune I inherited from my family'', Sisi said at a military ceremony.

    The president, among other things, stressed the significant deficit weighing on the State budget. ''There is no money'' and ''great sacrifices'' are necessary to overcome the economic crisis, the former general said, adding it is necessary to ''close ranks''.

    ''We can't always count on the Arab brothers who have supported us so far'', also explained Sisi, referring to the 12 billion dollars pledged by Saudi Arabia (five billion) together with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (seven billion) after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year was ousted by the military led by Sisi and supported by a huge popular movement.

    Saudi Arabia is promoting a donors' conference for Egypt.

    The announcement made by Sisi appears to be part of a campaign to psychologically prepare the population for cuts in public spending, with almost one-fourth devoted to keeping energy prices down. During and after the electoral campaign that led him to triumph in presidential elections last May (practically with no rivals), Sisi has called on Egyptians to get up at 5 am and save money, even cycling instead of driving. The president was photographed cycling on his mountain bike to have a greater impact in the media.

    Egypt's public deficit at the end of this fiscal year should be around 11.5% from 13.7% registered the previous year, though only thanks to aid from the Gulf (otherwise the deficit would total about 15% of GDP with overall public debt exceeding 95%).

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