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Sisi vows to improve situation of poor Egyptians following ‘Palacegate’ scandal

Sisi said he “understood the position” of citizens on “limited incomes” [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 September, 2019

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Egyptian president Sisi has announced that he will look into the situation of poor people, in what appears to be an attempt to appease anger over the 'Palacegate' scandal.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has said that he will be taking measures to improve the situation of people on “limited incomes”, in what appears to be an attempt to appease public opinion following the Palacegate protests.

In a Facebook post, the Egyptian dictator said that he “understood the position of citizens negatively affected by procedures related to ration card technology”.

The Egyptian state provides ration cards to citizens who are on low incomes, allowing them to purchase food and other essential items at low prices. Approximately 76 million of Egypt’s 104 million citizens are thought to benefit from this system, which is a lifeline for Egyptians living in poverty.

However, millions of people have had their ration cards stopped over the past few years as the Egyptian government has implemented austerity measures and lowered the maximum income level of those allowed ration cards from 1,500 Egyptian pounds ($92.26) per month to 1,200 pounds ($73.80) per month while the Egyptian pound was depreciating in value.

Egyptian official figures state that the percentage of Egyptian citizens living in poverty increased from 27.8 percent in 2015 to 32.5 percent in 2018.

Recently, the Egyptian ministry of supply announced that it would be accepting appeals from 500,000 people who had their ration cards stopped in the most recent batch of removals.

In his Facebook post, Sisi told people recently removed from the ration system “not to worry… because I myself will be following these procedures”.

He did not give details regarding which measures would be taken to alleviate proverty.

He added that “the government is completely committed to doing what is necessary to preserve the rights of poor citizens”.

Over the past two weeks, protests have taken place in Egypt after a construction contractor, Mohamed Ali, published videos saying that Sisi had contracted his company to build a number of luxurious palaces and villas for himself.

Sisi did not deny the allegations but said that he was building the palaces for the Egyptian people rather than himself and that he would continue to “build and build and build”.

The Egyptian government has responded with repression to the anti-corruption protests, arresting more than 2,000 people.

Several people left sarcastic comments on Sisi’s Facebook post. One Facebook user said,

“Dear Mr. President,

Greetings… I hope that your eminence kindly gives your approval for my residence in one of the presidential palaces for a period of two days, so that I can reap the benefits of my property, based on your speech”.

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