President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggested on Monday that Egypt’s civil servants may not get a wage increase this year as the government needs money to build new classrooms in overcrowded schools.
Egypt has already increased fuel, electricity and transport prices this year to help meet the terms of its IMF loan deal, leading to rare protests in May by commuters angry at the fare hikes.
Speaking at the World Youth Forum conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Sisi said there was a need to build 250,000 new classrooms, which would cost 130 billion Egyptian pounds ($7.3 billion).
“That’s a big challenge,” Sisi said. “Tell me what to do. How do I solve this?”
The government needs to find a solution he said, adding: “I’m going to say something difficult. Make cuts in all the ministries. I’m going to say something even more difficult. We’re not going to give raises this year to employees in Egypt.”
State employees in Egypt receive a raise at the end of every fiscal year, which runs from July to June.
Egypt has been implementing tough reforms under its $12 billion IMF loan deal agreed in 2016 aimed at attracting foreign investment.
Under the IMF deal Egypt also devalued its currency and has been gradually cutting fuel subsidies, putting tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.