Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Briefs

Al-Ahram Weekly

More UAE cash

THE UNITED Arab Emirates (UAE) will provide LE20 billion for the government’s second stimulus package which aims at boosting the economy and is worth some LE30 billion, said Ziad Bahaaeddin, deputy prime minister and minister of international cooperation, last week.
The remaining LE10 billion would be provided by the state, he added. Bahaaeddin said that the government had provided more than the LE22 billion assigned for the first stimulus package, providing an additional LE11 billion by the end of 2013.
He said that the second stimulus package included building 50,000 residential units, establishing 25 wheat silos, the completion of sanitation projects, building 100 schools and the provision of 600 public buses.
The government revealed its first stimulus package last August, which involved pumping LE23 billion into investment projects over the coming year to revive Egypt’s battered economy.


Minimum wage soon

THE MINISTRY of Finance has finalised procedures for the implementation of the minimum wage for public-sector employees starting this month, the ministry said in a statement this week.
Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal said that the minimum wage would not be related to changes in employees’ basic salaries, but would be linked to the job level occupied. The move came in an attempt to bridge the wage gap between different job levels in the public sector and is set to reduce the gap between the highest and the lowest salaries from the current 491 per cent to 311 per cent.
On 18 September, the cabinet announced a minimum wage for the public sector of LE1,200 per month, to come into force at the beginning of 2014. The idea of a minimum wage goes back to April 2008, when textile workers in Mahalla staged a strike and included a minimum wage of LE1,200 per month as one of their demands.
Since the 25 January Revolution, the demand for setting fair minimum and maximum wages has become one of the pressing issues for the post-revolution governments.


NIR on the slide

EGYPT’s Net International Reserves (NIR) continued to decline in December to stand at $17.7 billion by the end of 2013, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Monday.
This is the fourth consecutive drop in the reserves since August, when they stood at $18.9 billion following an injection of financial aid from the Gulf.
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have showered Egypt with a combined $12 billion, with assurances of further assistance, following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. The Gulf aid has helped Egypt’s struggling economy and has prompted the country’s first credit upgrades since the 25 January Revolution.
In November, Standard and Poor’s, the international credit rating agency, raised its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Egypt from CCC+/C to B-/B with a stable outlook. On 3 January, Fitch, another rating agency, revised its outlook on Egypt’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to stable from negative.
The country’s foreign reserves reached $18.9 billion at the end of August, only to decline to $18.7 billion in September followed by another drop in October, when they reached $18.59 billion. By the end of November, the foreign reserves stood at $17.76 billion.


Trade deficit drops

EGYPT’s trade deficit reached LE12.7 billion in September 2013, representing a 33.1 per cent drop compared to September 2012, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The value of exports in September 2013 dropped to LE15.9 billion, down 8.1 per cent from September 2012. Petroleum products, crude oil, tiles and sanitary fixtures, liquefied propane and carbon were among the main products that saw a drop in exports.
However, Egypt’s exports increased by 13 per cent in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same period the year before. The increase is attributed to the depreciation in the value of the Egyptian pound against the dollar, Egypt’s local currency falling around nine per cent against the dollar to end the year at LE6.938 to $1.
The value of imports in September also fell by 21 per cent to stand at LE28.6 billion compared to LE36.2 billion in September of the previous year. This can be ascribed to the fact that Egypt imported less iron and steel, petroleum products, corn, organic and non-organic compounds, and pharmaceutical goods last year.

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