Egypt's president on Tuesday raised the monthly minimum wage to about $172, a move designed to ease the burden of Egyptians who have been victims of painful austerity measures in recent years.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi announced in a statement that the minimum monthly wage would be 2,700 Egyptian pounds ($171.5), an increase of 12.5 percent from the current 2,400 Egyptian pounds ($152.5). Civil servants' salaries are also expected to increase by about 13 per cent.
This is the third time President el-Sissi has raised the minimum wage since taking office in 2014. The announcement came after a meeting with the prime minister, the finance minister and other financial officials to discuss the upcoming budget. Bonuses for teachers were also announced.
The statement did not specify when the increases would be implemented, but they are expected by the start of the new fiscal year in July, The austerity measures were part of an ambitious economic reform program designed to revive Egypt's economy, battered by years of political unrest and violence after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
The reforms were agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for a $12 billion loan, which the Egyptian government secured in 2016. They included the floating of the currency, substantial cuts in government subsidies for basic goods and the introduction of a wide range of new taxes.
These measures triggered a significant increase in prices and services, which critics say hit the poor and middle class the hardest. According to official statistics, 29.7 per cent of Egypt's more than 100 million people live in poverty.
President el-Sissi has repeatedly thanked Egyptians, especially women, for putting up with the harsh measures.