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Egyptian public sector workers see wages rise

Wages for some Egyptian workers rose by almost 30% in 2012. Above, citizens crowd on a Cairo street. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]

Wages for some Egyptian workers rose by almost 30% in 2012. Above, citizens crowd on a Cairo street. [Waleed Abu al-Khair/Al-Shorfa]



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Average weekly wages for Egyptians working in the public sector and the public business sector increased by almost 30% in 2012, according to a report released in May by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics.

In the agency's annual bulletin on employment-related statistics, average weekly wages for these sectors increased by 28.6% in comparison with 2011, reaching 845 Egyptian pounds ($121).

The report also revealed that the financial and insurance sectors boasted the highest weekly wages of 2,025 Egyptian pounds ($289), while the average weekly wage for transport and storage was estimated at 920 Egyptian pounds ($132), and jobs related to electricity, natural gas, steam supplies and air conditioning came in at 838 pounds ($120).

"The increase in income is noteworthy in light of the economic conditions Egypt has been going through, which indicates domestic sectors are healthy, sustainable and keeping up with the relative hike in annual price rates," said Misbah Khair al-Din from the agency's studies department.

Spending also increases

"High spending has come with higher incomes, though the government has not yet agreed on the anticipated wage increase for all sectors," Khair al-Din said.

"The statistics released in the report clearly show how important it is that workers in the business sector and youth move towards free and open sectors that are founded on creative energy, particularly the insurance and financial sectors," said Dr. Sayed Abdul Ghani, economics professor at Ain Shams University.

The government has a crucial role to play in restoring confidence in the financial sector following logistical and technical improvements, and also now that Egypt is party to international agreements to link the Egyptian stock exchange to other global stock exchanges, he said.

Abdul Ghani said the report did not deal with the parallel economy, which includes fixed and mobile street vendors, and those who work in private transport, private education, private tutoring and brokerage services.

"[Egypt's] parallel economy has reached around 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($143 million) and its importance stems from the fact it is a fundamental component of the Egyptian economy, which provides market liquidity," he told Al-Shorfa.

Dr. Mahmoud Sultan, economics professor at Cairo University, said that wage increases are linked to living expenses, inflation, and employment and economic growth in general.

"If we were to link these factors and compare them with the figures in the report, we would find the Egyptian economy on a healthy path, at least in terms of the domestic economy," he added. "This means it has stayed intact in spite of repeated shakes, what with foreign investors moving away, fluctuations in import and export activity, and the ensuing fragile security conditions".

The statistics in the report are motivating many people working in the sectors that have witnessed wage increases, and they provide an incentive for those working in sectors that have not witnessed such wage increases, he said.





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