Sisi vows to ‘give up’ half his salary for the ‘sake of the country’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) attends the graduation ceremony of the Air Force Academy in Cairo, in this June 22, 2014 picture provided by the Egyptian Presidency. (Reuters)

Newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday he is willing to give up half his salary and property and called on the Egyptian people to make similar sacrifices to salvage Egypt’s ailing economy.

Sisi’s speech, which was mostly devoted to economic affairs, came at a military graduation ceremony in Cairo.

Speaking in the local dialect of Arabic used by ordinary Egyptians, Sisi proposed to lead by example, giving up some of his own pay and vowing to apply a salary cap for higher earners in the public sector.

"There must be real sacrifices from every Egyptian man and woman. I take the maximum salary of 42,000 pounds ($5,900) and no one will take more than the maximum," he said.

"I am going to do two things: I am not going to take half of this sum and my property, even what I inherited from my father, I will give up half for the sake of our country."

The presdient said he had been involved in lengthy discussions over the proposed 2014/15 budget this week and had refused to sign off on a plan he said was too dependent on ballooning borrowing.

The comments appeared designed to prepare public opinion for further austerity measures, such as subsidy reductions, to allow for deeper reforms of an ailing economy.

"We said we would revise this budget because I cannot bear to accept it when it contains this level of deficit," Sisi said.

"I want to think of the children that are coming and to leave them something good, but this way we will leave them nothing. If the debt keeps accumulating like this, we won't leave them anything good."

He also asserted that Egypt’s deteriorating economy, which had been massively affected by security and political upheavals in the country, required “sacrifices” from all Egyptians.

Sisi called on Egyptians inside and outside the country to make personal sacrifices for the greater good and said the demands of vested interests or individual factions would no longer be pandered to.

A decree issued last May by interim President Adly Mansour raised an Egyptian president’s monthly salary to $2,957 (21,000 Egyptian pounds) and a similar sum in a monthly allowance for entertainment.

Two weeks after the decree, Sisi won presidential elections, less than a year after removing Islamist President Mohammad Mursi, a member of the Brotherhood.

 (with Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43