Sisi 'not afraid' of pushing through tough austerity measures

Sisi 'not afraid' of pushing through tough austerity measures
2 min read
13 August, 2016
Sisi insists he will go ahead with austerity measures in Egypt after the IMF pledged a $12 billion injection into the country's troubled economy.
Sisi says he doesn't fear enacting tough new economic measures [Getty]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will not shy away from enacting tough economic reforms that previous rulers avoided fearing they would spark unrest, he said.

Sisi's comments come after an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $12 billion in financing that hinges on a reform package with state spending slashed and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

Parliament is also expected to pass a law introducing a value added tax to raise state revenues.

Egypt's economy has been battered by turmoil since a 2011 uprising ousted veteran dictator Hosni Mubarak, ushering in unrest that has driven away tourists and foreign investments.

"The first attempt at real reform was in 1977," Sisi said in a speech aired by state television during the launch of an ethynyl plant in the coastal city of Alexandria.

The country had been rocked by riots in 1977 after president Anwar Sadat said he would end basic subsidies as demanded by the World Bank in return for a loan.

"The people's reaction caused the state to backtrack, and it has continued to delay (the reforms) till now," said Sisi.

"All the hard decisions that many over the years were scared to take: I will not hesitate for a second to take them," said Sisi.

The government has already partially cut fuel and electricity subsidies, but the gradual reforms have been limited so far.

"We are trying to bridge the gap between resources and spending," Sisi said.

He called on Egyptians - especially "the great Egyptian lady" - to use less electricity and water.

"Please... she can - with her presence in society and the family - decrease a lot the consumption of water and electricity, and other things that are a burden on the economy."