Egyptian MPs voice fears and frustrations over the economy

Egyptian MPs voice fears and frustrations over the economy
2 min read
06 November, 2016
Parliamentarians spoke out Sunday at the environment and energy committee over the government's lack of consultation on economic decisions, leading to fuel price increases.
Most Egyptians have had their main food staples rationed by the government following shortages [Anadolu]
There were angry scenes in the Egyptian parliament on Sunday, as MPs railed against the government’s decision to raise fuel prices and float the Egyptian pound.

MPs vented their frustrations about a lack of coordination between the government and parliament on economic decisions during an emergency meeting of the environment and energy committee.

“We are ready to eat gravel for this country and tolerate what’s necessary for these reforms, but that does not mean strangulation,” said MP Ayman Abdullah, whilst also demanding clarity on the government’s plans to protect the markets.

“The government made a mistake not to notify Parliament before deciding to increase the price of petroleum products,” said MP al-Sayyed Higazi.

Economic experts believe that the rise in fuel prices has been exacerbated by rapidly rising inflation, after Egypt officially floated its currency on the markets on Thursday.

The flotation was an essential move before Egypt could be allowed to apply for an $11 billion loan from the IMF over three years.

Finance minister Amr al-Garhy told reporters today that he would approve an application for a loan from the IMF by Tuesday.

The economic decisions have been met with widespread anger and frustration across Egypt

United States secretary of state, John Kerry welcomed the move on Saturday, saying that it was an important step towards stability.

“It is encouraging that Egyptian leaders are making the difficult decisions needed to move their country towards prosperity,” Kerry said.

The economic decisions have been met with widespread anger and frustration across Egypt, as many people face even higher living costs in a country where millions are living off hand-outs.

"How is it possible that there are still 70 million ration card holders,” said Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Magdi Al-Agati.

“We [parliamentarians] must admit that the support system has some serious problems, but the current government is not a reason for them."

Private bus companies announced that they would increase fares on Thursday, following the government’s announcement it would cut public subsidies of petrol.

Egyptian Army forces were deployed outside prisons and other important government installations today ahead of planned protests across the country this coming Friday.

Plans for the protests on 11 November have been circulating on social media for the past month under the hashtag #Overthrowal_revolution with security agents maintaining a watchful eye on potential protests.