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Egyptian businesses struggle as costs soar

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 01:38

A recent hike in Egypt's fuel and electricity prices - part of the government's three-year plan to cut subsidies - is pushing many Egyptians, who are already struggling from rising inflation, to the limit. David Pollard reports.

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This isn't the cost of living going up ....but many Egyptians say it could just as well be. Price hikes are, they say, making life unbearable. June saw petrol rise by up to 50 per cent. Hitting businesses along what locals say was once this much busier street. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NUTS SHOP OWNER, WALID MOHAMED, SAYING: "Business here is very slow, there is no selling at all. Before there was work and movement and stuff, but now there is nothing at all. Now we're barely able to cover our costs." Egypt has struggled since a 2011 uprising drove investors and tourists away. Hammered hard by record inflation - and a local currency that's halved in value since it was floated last year. The government says a period of austerity will free up financing for infrastructure - and bring investors back. With them, jobs and growth. If at the cost of policies many find bewildering. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT, MAGDI HOSNI, SAYING: "The decisions that have been taken should have been carried out over many years. They came all at once. We understand economic reform. And it needs to be done. But it should be in several stages. It can't be done all at once." And austerity carries a potential cost for the government too. Egypt is trying to meet the terms of a 12 billion dollar IMF loan deal. As times get harder, so do attitudes. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT, ATEYA HADER, SAYING: "The people have had it. They're done. Our pockets are empty. That's it, there's nothing left." A view gaining traction - in a country getting hotter under the collar.

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Egyptian businesses struggle as costs soar

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 01:38