Electricity Prices Hike in Egypt As Al-Sisi Defends More Austerity Measures

Egypt is raising the price of electricity by an average of 26 percent as part of austerity measures designed to overhaul the country’s economy. 

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said that electricity charges for factories would rise by 41.8 percent and for households by 20.9 percent, with the new charges taking effect in July, Egypt’s Al Ahram daily reported.

Abdel-Fattah Al Sisi has asked Egyptians to endure the necessary measures.

He also urged Egyptians to bear the new challenges of the recent subsidy cuts from the government in a raft of tough economic reforms.

During a group Iftar (breaking fast) al-Sisi threw a speech saying that the country won’t get out of this economic dilemma unless all Egyptians have united to confront the challenges together; “We must all suffer and struggle to have a stronger country in the end,” he said.

He continued “We, as Egyptians, have to pay the price together, but we are still paying for some of the cheapest prices in the world provided by countries to their citizens, including in energy, fuel and commodity prices.”

Sisi shed light on the subsidized services and commodities provided by the country and their increasing cost, which weighs badly on the economic situation; he said that every Egyptian citizen receives subsidized bread reaching LE 400 to LE 500 monthly and the state provides a LE 260 monthly subsidy for the butane cylinders, if citizens purchased two.

Egypt earlier this month raised the price of piped drinking water by up to 45 percent.

Egyptians aren’t only expected to pay more for electricity, there is also an expected rise in fuel regarding cuts to fuel subsidies in the upcoming FY.

Egypt is implementing an economic reform programme which has included slashing subsidies, imposing a value-added tax and a currency flotation. The measures are aimed at qualifying for a three-year $12bn bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund, which Egypt secured in 2016.

Millions of poor Egyptians,  as well as the country’s middle class, have been hit hard by the austerity measures.