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Alex Wright

Young Egyptians 'should drive tuktuks', says PM

The Egyptian premier said that there are no vacant positions in government [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 August, 2015

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Egypt’s prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab has said Egypt's young people should not think about opening cafes but rather consider driving three-wheeled auto rickshaws as their professions.
Young Egyptians should forget about opening up cafes and focus on driving tuktuks, said Ibrahim Mahlab, Egypt’s prime minister.

In an interview with a private satellite channel, the premier said that there are no vacant positions in the public sector and that young Egyptians would be better off driving rickshaws – known as tuktuks – which are commonly used as cheap form of public transport in densely populated districts.

The prime minister’s comments have ironically come days after the government banned the use of tuktuks in central Cairo with violators facing hefty fines and their vehicles confiscated.

     
      Tuktuks are now banned in central Cairo [Getty]
“The government has run out of jobs, there are no longer any public sector jobs, you shouldn’t think about opening up a cafe to make a living, consider driving a tuktuk,” he said.

In an earlier comment, the PM said that carpenters, mechanics and blacksmiths were making as much as 200 Egyptian pounds a day ($25) and “living happily”.

See Also: Photo gallery: Egypt bans tuktuks in central Cairo 

He added that young people require “patience and perseverance” to find jobs and advised them to “go out, work and get an education because the state is here to help”, adding that factories always required new labour.

“Nations are built on blood, sweat and tears. They built Germany after it had been completely destroyed. Japan re-built itself twice in Nagasaki and Hiroshima after the bombs. Young people are the ones who build nations,” Mahlab said.

The comments were unsurprisingly judged to be insensitive by many young Egyptians, particularly as youth unemployment in Egypt runs at 40 percent.

Many Egyptian social media users called for Mahlab to step down as PM due to his comments.

The following day, Mahlab clarified his statements to al-Shorouq newspaper, saying that his comments were not intended to patronise young Egyptians, but make it clear that they should seek employment themselves.

In June, Mahlab came under fire from social media users after he paid a surprise visit to a Cairo hospital where he was shocked to find second-hand goods on sale and cats roaming the government health facility.

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