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Egyptian Price Hikes…Will they trigger Popular Ranger
Egyptian Price Hikes…Will they trigger Popular Ranger
Egyptian markets are facing in early 2008 a crisis of rising prices which Egypt has never witnessed before.
Wednesday, February 13,2008 19:02
by Nadine Abdullah, Doaa Abdul Raouf IkhwanWeb
Egyptian markets are facing in early 2008 a crisis of rising prices which Egypt has never witnessed before. This dealt the Egyptian people more plunges into the unknown specially as salaries are still low and can"t keep up with the rising prices in key commodities like flour, oil and sugar, and building materials in addition to other important services.
The rises in the import costs, and the ensuing rise of the costs of producing industrial commodities, agricultural products and services, led to a rise in the prices of commodities in local markets, especially key consumer commodities. Add to this the fact that many businessmen affiliated to the ruling party in Egypt are currently monopolizing most key commodities.
Figures make the serious situation even more crystal clear. The imports bill accounts for 25% of the gross domestic product, upon which the national economy depends to afford 70% of the food needs, including importing 50% of the wheat, 80% of the atom, 90 % of the oils, 50% of the bean, in addition to 33 % of the sugar.
How will the price hikes phenomenon come to an end. Shall Egypt witness a remake of the "bread revolution" carried out 31 years ago and was dubbed "the revolution of the thieves" and "the revolution of poor".
A retreat in the development system
Dr. Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Executive Office, attributed this price hikes to the increasing retreat in the development system altogether, including investment and production and others. He added that there should be reconsideration into the development system in Egypt in order to revive it in all fields.
He confirmed also that the crisis isn"t stemming from only the increases in prices. The prioce hike is only a symptom not a disease. He added that the price hike is a disturbing problem but there are many problems which need to be tackled first in order to end that problem.
The Egyptian people are suffering from the continuously rising prices which are met with extremely lean and low salaries. There is no justice in the distribution of income and revenues among citizens. Most Egyptians are under the line of poverty while there are others who deceive the economic system through a narrow cycle of capitals that may constitute main causes for undermining development.
Morsi confirmed that the human being is the backbone of any development system. Thus, people must be educated to be good citizens who can earn their living, don"t waste their time and don"t spend their money in any unnecessary channels even if money is abundant. "If there is such a good citizen in our society, we can find all means for success".
Morsi warned that unless people can afford their daily needs, threats may pose for the country altogether, causing moral problems, a social disintegration and a weak society that can not confront foreign powers and can"t practice an effective participation.
He added that dictatorial regimes use oppression and force to confront their peoples because their policies fail in affording people"s needs. However, such a sterile policy will lead only to more outbursts and more weakness to the society.
Only Sit-ins and Strike Can Bring in Your rights
 Rifaat El-Said, the chairman of the Egyptian Tagammu" Party, warned in Shura Council session, held on January, 21st, 2008, that strikes and open sit-ins that Egypt is witnessing may develop into a social phenomenon, pointing out that "The government deals with people in a way that makes them feel that they will never get your rights except through sit-ins or strikes".
He warned of a revolution of hungry people, saying:" If this happened, it will destryoy all of us".
Kamal Abu Eita, top leader of the real-estate tax workers confirmed that Mofid Shehab"s statements over the strikes have no value, referring to the latter"s provocative statements in which he said that the workers have the right to stage a strike and the government has the right to send them to prison if they surpassed limits.
Kamal Abu Eita added that the workers managed during 2007 to impose their conditions and take their rights especially while their salaries are low and while prices are sky rocketing. He saw Shehab"s statements as another proof that the government is bankrupt and can"t contain protests, obliging it for the first time to threaten with carrying out suppressive actions against protesting workers
Mass Outbursts Won"t Stop in the Society
For his part, Dr. Amr Al Shobki, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said in an article published by the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yom Newspaper, that the dangers that have became increasing since 2006 when social protests and uprisings started, will never stop. The Egyptian protesters are confronting the regime calling only for improving their working conditions and salaries under the skyrocketing prices.
He added that 2008 that will witness more random and continuous outburst c which will never be contained through detentions because they aren"t specified to a certain section of the society. These protests may lead to internal chaos and collapse, and their utmost danger is that they will face the remains of a regime, not a real regime.
Al Shobaki said that a remake of the Jan, 18-19 1977 outbursts can"t happen because "these outrages were led by well-organized political powers which managed to reach out to the public even if this was in one single issue, high prices." He saw that all political powers in Egypt have collapsed after side battles and conflicts.
Despite biting economic crunch, no "Poor Revolution" ahead
Nabil Abdul Fattah, a member Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and political studies, saw as naive the link between a prices crisis and the emergence of a revolution. He said that there is no possible revolution in spite of the hard economic situations that Egyptian citizens are facing. He attribute this to many reasons including the government"s wide experience in how to deal with such revolutions and popular outbursts.
He added that most Egyptian citizens work more than one shift and bribery is so widespread among many employees. Extra incomes of some sections of the society help in easing any possible outburst in the country.
He also pointed to the social solidarity among the Egyptian citizens. The Egyptian woman can afford many things out of a very low budget, according to him.

Posted in Reform Issues , Human Rights  
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