Egypt's Tax, Price Hikes Fuel Concern of More Discontent

[AP/International Herald Tribune] Last week, President Hosni Mubarak ordered that the salaries of all government and public sector employees - almost 6 million people - be raised by 30%, in a move to assuage a population increasingly restive over stagnant wages and rising food prices. Then on Monday, parliament passed a bill to muster the $3.6 billion needed for the salary raises. It increased taxes and cigarette prices, reduced fuel subsidies and removed tax breaks from private education and heavy industry. The average price of gasoline and diesel jumped 46%. Analysts said Egypt's economic woes would deepen. Ahmed el-Seyyed el-Nagar, editor of Egypt's Economic Report, said the hikes would fuel inflation which in turn would "devour" the salary raise.

2008-05-07 01:00:00

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