Sisi defends subsidy slashes
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has defended a decision by the administration to lift fuel prices by 78 percent as part of its austerity measures.
In a meeting with some media representatives on Sunday, Sisi said because of the increasing government debt, the state subsidies on fuel had to be slashed sooner or later.
"Whether we wanted to or not, these decisions had to be taken, now or later."
He added that it is better to face the situation instead of letting the country drown.
The move has angered taxi drivers and others affected by the rising costs.
In the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, taxi drivers blocked roads after the hikes came into effect on Saturday. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.
In Suez and Ismailia, minibus drivers staged demonstrations asking for a rise in fares to compensate for fuel costs.
People rushed to gas stations in several cities, with reports indicating that clashes erupted several times between frustrated motorists and gas station employees.
Police forces arrested two people after dispersing a protest by fishermen in the coastal city of Rosetta.
According to latest figures, Egypt’s budget deficit reached 9.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in the first eleven months of the current fiscal year.
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