President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday called on Egyptians to endure a raft of tough economic reforms introduced by the government, speaking the same day the government increased electricity prices.
“All challenges and difficulties can be easy if Egyptians endure the conditions the Egyptian state is passing through,” El-Sisi was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.
“We have to pay the price together,” he added, speaking during an iftar gathering.
El-Sisi’s remarks came hours after the government introduced new cuts to electricity subsidies, pushing up prices by an average of around 26 percent from July.
The price hikes are the latest in a series of painful economic reforms aimed at stabilising an economy that has struggled since the 2011 uprising, which include fuel and electricity subsidy cuts, imposing a value-added tax, and a currency flotation.
While Egyptians have been hit hard by the austerity measures, El-Sisi said he was adamant about not deferring necessary reforms in order to improve the country’s battered economy, calling on Egyptians to understand.
El-Sisi said that the government spends a total subsidy bill of EGP 332 billion, which covers fuel, food and energy subsidies. He added that every family is offered an average of EGP 1,000 in subsidies every month.
El-Sisi, who was sworn in for a second term earlier this month after a landslide victory in a March election, said his first term offered job opportunities to 3 million people.