Al-Sisi asks Egyptians to endure, announces funds to ease corona’s impact

Cairo, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi on Sunday called on the Egyptian people to make a concerted effort over the next two weeks and to follow the instructions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, announcing that $7.6 billion have been allocated to tackle the epidemic’s economic effects.

“Let’s endure for at least two weeks,” the president said, asking 100 million Egyptians to show commitment to prevent the spread of the virus that has infected nearly 300 people in the country, killing 10 of them.

He warned that the number of infected people could soon be in the “thousands,” and therefore he called on the citizens to show “commitment, responsibility, seriousness and discipline.”

During a televised event, the president announced the allocation of 100 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.3 billion) for a “global plan” against the virus.

The government has been revealing details about the plan over the past few days.

The Central Bank will inject $1.3 billion to support the Egyptian stock market during this period.

The government is set to provide aid to exporters during March and April as well as to reduce the price of energy for industrial use.

Cairo will support the private industrial sector with loans to be made available through banks with annual interest of 10 percent.

Paybacks on loans to small, medium and micro companies will be postponed for six months, added the president, summarizing all the measures that have been put forward.

Among other measures, taxpayers will only have to pay 10 percent of the taxes they owe and foreigners will not be taxed on income. Meanwhile, residents may delay their payments until 2022.

Pensions will increase by 14 percent as of the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

Regarding the severely-hit tourist sector, companies have been exempted from any payments for now.

On March 19, Egypt suspended all flights until the end of the month, which will cause a $140-million loss to the aviation sector, according to government estimates.

Starting on Monday, all museums and archeological sites will be closed, while hotels, Nile cruises and tourist facilities have been shut down in the provinces where coronavirus cases have been reported.

Bars, restaurants, coffee shops and malls are all subject to an overnight curfew starting at 7 pm local time and lasting until 6 am. EFE-EPA


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