Egypt raises minimum public sector wage by 50%

A new social welfare package will also raise pensions to provide emergency relief amid continued devaluation of the Egyptian currency

An Egyptian young worker carries a rack full of bread at a market in Cairo. Consumer prices in Egypt are consistently on the rise. EPA
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The minimum wage for Egypt’s public sector workers will be increased by 50 per cent, to 6,000 Egyptian pounds ($194.17) per month from the beginning of March, as inflation surges in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Part of a new “emergency social support package” launched by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the wage increase comes at a time when Egypt’s population of 105 million is contending with the continued deterioration of the economy.

The package announced on Wednesday also includes “periodic raises” for public sector workers ranging between 10 and 15 per cent, the president's office said.

A portion of the package will go towards supporting teachers, whose wages will be raised by varying amounts, as well as university-level educators.

Wages for doctors and nurses working in the public sector will also be increased, the goverment said.

More than 120,000 jobs in the medical, education and administrative sectors, will also be opened under a 6-billion-pound initiative, according to a spokesman for Mr El Sisi.

Pensions for 13 million citizens will also be increased by 15 per cent, starting next month.

Social welfare grants from Takaful and Karama, a programme that gives monthly stipends to orphans and the elderly, will also be increased by 15 per cent.

The ceiling for taxable income was also raised from 45,000 pounds a year to 60,000 pounds.

An economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war has continued to worsen in Egypt.

An ensuing foreign exchange crunch has slowed down many of the country’s industries, most of which rely on the US dollar for imported components.

Excessive borrowing on the government’s part, particularly for mega construction projects that critics say are unnecessary, has also contributed to the economy’s deterioration.

In 2022, Egypt was approved for another loan from the International Monetary Fund, amounting to about $3billion, of which one tranche has been delivered pending reviews of the country’s adherence to the fund’s reforms.

Among the IMF's conditions on Egypt are reduced public spending and a freely floating the currency to boost foreign investment.

Headline inflation in Egypt reached a record high of 38 per cent in September and has since come down to about 35 per cent, while the Egyptian pound has depreciated by more than 50 per cent against the dollar since 2022.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 5:25 PM