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Egypt’s Sisi says military economy just 1-1.5 pct of GDP
(Reuters) – The Egyptian military’s economic activities are equivalent to just 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP and not more than 20 percent as some have claimed, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday in a televised speech.
Sisi, a former military general who took office in 2014, has promised to revive the economy, which has struggled since a 2011 uprising scared away investors and tourists, Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.
He has called in the army to assist in major infrastructure projects and with distribution of subsidised commodities to keep a lid on rising prices amid an acute shortage of dollars that has hiked the cost of goods.
“In case you’re wondering how large the economy of the armed forces is in terms of GDP, I’m going tell you so it’s clear: 1 to 1.5 percent,” Sisi said at a national youth conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The size of the military, which produces everything from bottled water to macaroni, has long been a topic of speculation in Egypt but official comment on the scope of its economic activities is rare.
Sisi’s comments come just one day after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in a prime time TV interview the military’s economic role was likely to decrease within two to three years .
The military’s activities have appeared to expand over the last year. Armed forces vans roam the country selling cheap groceries and military retail outlets have popped up, while military agencies have attempted to procure basic commodities from international traders amid shortages.
Sisi said the armed forces are not entering the economy to profit or compete with the private sector, and that their projects are subject to taxes and regulatory oversight.
He added that the military would deliver 1,350 projects by 2018 but did not specify their exact nature.
Israeli teenage worker killed by gunfire along Egyptian border
(Reuters) – An Israeli civilian, who was aged 15 according to his father, was killed by gunfire along the border with Egypt on Tuesday, the Israeli military said.
The army said in a statement that the shooting did not appear to be connected to militant action and that the Israeli and Egyptian militaries were investigating the incident.
Israel’s defense ministry named the victim as Nimr Abu-Amar an Arab Israeli working for a contractor firm it had hired to carry out maintenance work on the border fence.
He died of his wounds while being airlifted to an Israeli hospital from the remote Israel-Egypt border area in the Negev desert where the shooting occurred, an army spokeswoman said.
Bassam Abu-Amar, Nimr’s father, said his son had accompanied family members working on the border fence doing odd jobs and preparing coffee for other members of the crew.
Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel, but incidents in recent years at the frontier have been rare.
Egypt withdraws 40 diplomats, closes embassy and 3 consulates to cut budget
Egyptian Foreign Ministry has decided to close three consulates and an embassy abroad and to withdraw a total of 40 diplomats worldwide to cut its budget, said the Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement Monday.
“The Ministry is conducting a leading role to rationalize the expenditure and reduce financial burden on the State’s budget more than a year ago, with full coordination with presidency of the Cabinet,” the statement read.
The ministry managed to save 10 percent of its budget and gave it back to the state’s treasury, he added. The closed consulates were in Nigeria’s Lagos, Tanzanian Zanzibar, and Geneva; the ministry also closed embassy in the Central Africa’s Bangui.
NCW drafts law to protect women against violence
The National Council for Woman (NCW) has drafted a draft law to protect women against violence, Youm7 reported on Wednesday.
Per Article 11 of the draft law, who he commits rape crime against a minor girl, less than 18 years old or mentally or psychological challenged, shall be sentenced to death penalty.
The draft will be referred to the Cabinet to consider it; in case the bill was passed by the government, the parliament would consider it.