Al-Sisi has asked the Egyptian bank officials to find mechanisms to benefit from the “change” (coins as opposed to banknotes) to install them in “small projects for Egypt”.
On Monday, al-Sisi said in his speech when he was handing over apartments’ contracts to people of “Gheit Al-Enab” in Alexandria, “Can we take it (the change)? I don’t know how will you do it? I mean that the money change as the 50 piasters and 1 pound in the transactions can be deposited in a special bank account for financing projects and services.”
Al-Sisi added in a speech that was broadcast via the Egyptian state-owned T.V. that Egyptians want to donate to these projects but they don’t know the mechanism.
Al-Sisi continued, “Here is a strong mechanism: we are talking about the transactions of almost 20 or 30 million people daily,” “if the change is 1 pound and 90 piasters, it would reach a huge sum; if we get this “change”, we will have 10 to 12 billion Egyptian pounds”
“Please, I want this money; but I don’t know how?”
In response, al-Sisi’s initiative has caused a mocking stream through the social media as activists launched a hashtag “Say Good morning to Egypt and donate your “change” The hashtag has quickly topped the list of comments on Twitter.
In this context, Abd al-Hafez al-Saway, an economic expert, said that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s new initiative could be an idea presented by a charity organization or an orphanage, not by a statesman. He added that al-Sisi’s words are very insulting to be addressed by a supposed head of state.
He added, “After al-Sisi has failed in Tahya Masr (Long live Egypt) Fund, and the “Say Good morning to Egypt with 1 pound” campaign, he came back to suggest a new idea to accumulate money from the Egyptians through getting their ‘change’,” adding that al-Sisi didn’t identify whether the ‘change’ would be piasters or it would include pounds, too!
Al-Saway added that these ideas are mainly a method to escape the funding crisis in the country.
He also added that “if he is asking the Egyptian people to donate their “change”, why doesn’t he speak about the special funds of the police and the armed forces, or the projects of Egypt’s Armed Forces that are not subject to taxation.”
In fact, this is not the first time for al-Sisi to ask the Egyptians for donating money to the government for solving Egypt’s economical problems.
On February 24 2016, Al-Sisi said in a speech at al-Galaa Theater, in Cairo – where he launched the government’s long-term sustainable development strategy “Egypt Vision 2030 – that the Egyptian people should donate to the government, saying, “We should all say: ‘Good morning, Egypt’ and donate one pound,” he said, adding that the Egyptians should support their national economy against foreign threats which seek to destroy Egypt.
One of the most quoted lines from the speech came when Sisi said, ” I will use very very difficult expression …If it were possible for me to be sold, I would sell myself.”
At that time, social media users mocked Sisi’s improvised speech for weeks. One prankster even put Al-Sisi up for sale on the global auction site eBay describing him as a “lightly used field marshal.”
Since the military coup in 2013 led by al-Sisi against Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president, Egypt undergoes one of the harshest economic crises in its history.
Al-Sisi, who made many promises to the Egyptians, and was viewed by some as a savior, has failed until now in resolving Egypt’s problems. On the contrary, he warned them of harsh times and austerity policies in light of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Loan.
Hard currency shortage has escalated due to withdrawal in tourism and foreign investment as a result political instability and lack of security.
As a result, the Central Bank of Egypt(CBE) devalued the Egyptian currency in March. The devaluation of the Egyptian pound and the shortage of foreign currency have flourished the black market on the currency expense and led to inflation.
In addition, the political life in Egypt has been locked by the al-Sisi regime that launched a massive crackdown against political opposition and human rights activists.
The Economist Magazine wrote in its editorial entitled: “The Ruining of Egypt” that “Egypt under the al-Sisi rule is the most worrying country.”
“Nowhere is the poisonous mix of demographic stress, political repression and economic incompetence more worrying than in Egypt,” read the report. It added,” “al-Sisi is making things worse”, said the Economist.” “Egypt’s political system needs to be reopened.
A good place to start would be for al-Sisi to announce that he will not stand again for election in 2018,” as the Economist once said.