Egypt unveils $4.9B stimulus package

File - An Egyptian street vendor displays goods for sale next to a posters of Egypt's Defense Minister, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and Arabic that reads, "Egypt is the mother of the world and will be as big as the entire world," hung on a tree in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

CAIRO: Egypt’s interim government unveiled its second stimulus package Monday, which will inject 33.9 billion Egyptian pounds ($4.87 billion) into the economy, with most of that money coming from aid pledged by the United Arab Emirates.

Previously, the Finance Ministry said Egypt planned to spend around 30 billion Egyptian pounds. The first stimulus package, amounting to 30 billion pounds, was launched in August.

Ahmad Galal, the finance minister, said in a statement Monday that the new spending would be financed mostly by the United Arab Emirates, one of the Gulf Arab countries that have pledged billions of dollars in support for Egypt.

Three years of political unrest since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak have scared away investors and tourists, weighing on economic growth.

The army toppled President Mohammad Morsi in July, triggering unrest. Security forces have killed about 1,000 Morsi supporters and arrested many more in a crackdown.

Analysts say the army-backed authorities are anxious to get the economy moving to shore up public support and curb the scope for more unrest as the government moves along a political transition plan leading to elections this year.

Nearly 20 billion Egyptian pounds will be spent on development projects and 2 billion pounds would be directed toward developing a corridor around the Suez Canal under the second stimulus package, according to the statement.

Twelve billion pounds will go toward social programs, including a rise in the minimum wage.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 11, 2014, on page 5.




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