CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood has blasted the government’s decision to raise prices accusing Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif of swindling the citizens and falsifying facts.
In a press conference organized on Monday by the Islamist group’s parliamentary bloc, the Brotherhood Secretary General Mohamed El Beltagy announced that the real price hikes have reached 40 percent, and not 12 percent as Nazif said.
“Raising prices in certain markets will lead to a domino effect with all goods, including vegetables. The ordinary citizen, from those who benefited from the 30 percent raise to those who did not benefit, will all be affected, said El Beltagy.
El Beltagy also made claims that the government has not raised prices because of the rise in salaries, but because of a severe budget deficit.
“The claimed price raises were due to the rise in wages to make them more palatable to the public, El Beltagy said. “However, if one takes into account that social spending has risen by LE1.1 billion, retirement by LE 200 million and wages by LE 400 million, with everything this all adds up to around LE 2.5 billion.
“However, it is expected that the price rises will bring in LE 7.5 billion. This proves that there is no basis in claiming the price rise is to cover the rise in wages. There is in fact a LE 5 billion difference going to a budget deficit.
“What is strange is that it has been the dream of the health council in the People’s Assembly to raise the cost of cigarettes in order to cover health insurance and development. But the government refused, saying it would trigger a public outcry. Now we find it has been agreed on.