By the Gazette Editorial Board
Some parties have been showing considerable sensitivity towards any rise in the price of services, but one has to admit that the recent rise in the electricity bill, as announced last week, respected a strategy of social solidarity and took into consideration the right of the poor to a subsidised service.
A family's consumption of electricity is one of the main factors on which any government can measure the standard of living of its people. The ministry of electricity accordingly priced the kilo/watt of electricity according to the consumption of each house. Thus, the house that consumes no more than 200 kilo/watts, for example, would pay 36Pt per kilo/watt, that is around LE78 for the July bill with a price rise of LE18 if compared to the bill of June.
The people who consume more than 1,000 kilo/watts per month will pay 145Pt per kilo/watt, i.e. around LE1,491.5 for the July bill with a price rise of LE100 if compared to the June bill. This category will not enjoy any subsidy for the service.
Mohamed Shaker, the Minister of Electricity, chose to announce the price rise at a press conference. He also presented a precise schedule of 20 classifications of consumers, according to their actual consumption and the related pricing of the service.
Shaker denied connecting the rise in the service’s prices to the IMF demand in return for supporting the economic reforms. It was, he said, part of his ministry's policy of promoting the electricity sector and cutting the subsidy entirely by the financial year 2021–2022.
The price rise in the electricity service might not meet great opposition from citizens because of the real development they have found in the service since Shaker took the electricity portfolio in 2014.
Along with creating a large number of traditional power stations to overcome the terrible shortages of electricity the country used to suffer, the Ministry continues strengthening dependence on renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, for the generation of electricity.
The marked development registered in this sector as well as in the electricity service could be why the citizens haven't expressed any opposition to this recent rise in prices of the service unlike the reaction when the ministry of transport introduced a rise in the metro fares.
Some parties attribute public reaction to the timing of the electricity price rise, coming, as it does, shortly before the end of Ramadan while people are busy with preparations for the feast as well as the Mondeal. The fact is, however, that this rise in electricity prices was no surprise. It was expected before the start of the new fiscal year.
Choosing to announce a rise in prices of some services by the end of June was an inevitable move for the outgoing government so as to cope with the allocations and spending of each ministry in the new budget for the 2018–2019 fiscal year.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has stressed the need to upgrade the transport sector, which plays a pivotal role in the country’s economic development and growth.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Mustafa Madbouli and Transport Minister Hisham Arafat Tuesday, President Sisi called for expediting the implementation of transport system and infrastructure projects and urged the upgrading of road safety systems, so as to reduce the number of road accidents.
Confirming that the transport sector was of central importance in view of its direct influence on the lives of people, President Sisi highlighted the need for sustained efforts to upgrade all the transport services that are provided to citizens, Presidency Spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi said in his round-up of the meeting.
The President noted that the transport sector was an important pillar of support for the economic potential of the nation, Ambassador Radi said.
During the meeting, President Sisi reviewed the government’s plans for upgrading the transport sector and ways of applying the latest technologies to improve road safety nationwide.
“It is important to improve the transport sector because it has the capacity to strengthen the national economy,” said President Sisi, who held a separate meeting with the newly appointed Minister of Defence General Mohamed Zaki.
After reviewing the relevant government plans, President Sisi instructed Prime Minister Madbouli and Minister Arafat to initiate whatever measures they deemed necessary for improving transport, especially given its capacity to contribute to achieving economic development and attracting investment, Spokesman Radi said.
The President confirmed the importance of initiating action to set up integrated networks of roads to connect the new industrial zones to the country’s seaports.
In his presentation, Minister Arafat said that his ministry had started a plan for developing the railway system and improving its services nationwide.
The plan included using modern technologies, developing level crossings, renovating the rolling stock, buying modern locomotives and overhauling the existing ones, Minister Arafat told the President, according to Ambassador Radi.
CAIRO, June 19, 2018 - In order to protect the country’s soil, seas and borders, navel units from Egypt and Spain have started comprehensive drills on Tuesday, which were held off Alexandria and some Red Sea governorates.
The drills came within the framework of Egypt’s keenness on strengthening its naval ties with Spain in order to deal with emergency situations, meet challenges and defend the homeland.
These drills aim at honing the skills of the Egyptian naval troops, which will be involved in the implementation and management of fighting missions.
The drills included manoeuvres in which the highly trained Egyptian and Spanish officers used various models of speedboats, frigates and rocket launchers, as well as troop carriers.
During the exercise, the Egyptian officers and soldiers demonstrated their ability to protect Egyptian seas and skies during times of peace and war.
A flotilla of speedboats joined the drills, which naval operations aimed at intercepting enemy vessels, as well as the provision of air support to operations.
The Egyptian and Spanish commanders exhibited their ability to protect the nation’s coasts against infiltration, smuggling and terrorist operations. They also showed their ability to safeguard giant ships and tankers as they entered Egypt’s territorial waters whether by day or night.
The naval drills also incorporated a firing exercise with live ammunition during which Egyptian and Spanish speedboats destroyed moving and stationary targets.
The drills also included another challenging sea defence exercise, in which various units dealt crippling blows to a simulated group of enemy ships and submarines before entering Egyptian territorial waters.
Following the exercises, all units returned safely to base.
CAIRO, June 19, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's Ministry of Environment’s Crocodile Management Unit has hunted a Nile crocodile in Minya el Qamh city in Sharqia governorate, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
The unit has made sure that there are no other crocodiles in the area, the statement added.
Sharqia Governor Khaled Saeed expressed thanks to the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Environment to catch the crocodile, noting that his request to hand it over to Sharqia zoo was approved.
Procedures are under way to deliver the crocodile to the zoo, he said, noting that the move aims to raise people’s awareness about this species.
CAIRO - The Egyptian Exchange ended on a mixed note Tuesday, the first trading session after the celebration of Eid El-Fitr, driven by institutions, Arab investment funds' sell-off, and purchases by locals and foreign investors.
Stocks' benchmark EGX30 dropped 0.94 per cent to 16,067.77 points; small and medium index EGX70 increased by 0.24 per cent to 802.24 points; the broader index EGX100 dropped by 0.04 per cent to 2,042.67.
The market capitalisation lost LE4.2 billion to hit 903.7.
BEIRUT, June 19, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt’s embassy in Beirut spares no effort to maintain the interests of the Egyptian expats in Lebanon, Egyptian ambassador here Nazih el Naggari said on Tuesday.
Naggari made the remarks during his meeting with the father of Lebanon’s Coptic Church, who visited the Egyptian embassy leading a delegation from the church to greet the ambassador on Eidul Fitr.
The pastor also expressed his greetings to the embassy staffers and Egyptian nationals in Lebanon on this occasion.
He also stressed that the embassy is committed to supporting and cooperating with members of the Egyptian community here in a way that helps meet their hopes and aspirations