Egypt’s president boosted the minimum monthly pay to around $172 on Tuesday, easing the responsibilities of Egyptians who have been hit hard by tough austerity measures in recent years.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in a statement that the country’s minimum monthly income will be 2,700 Egyptian pounds ($171.5), a 12.5 percent rise from the existing 2,400 Egyptian pounds ($152.5).
He also increased government officials’ pay by around 13%. El-Sisi has raised the minimum wage three times since taking office in 2014. The president made the declaration after meeting with the prime minister, finance minister, and other financial authorities on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming budget. Bonuses for teachers have also been announced.
The statement did not specify when the hikes would go into effect, although they are likely to begin with the start of the new fiscal year in July.
The austerity measures were part of an ambitious economic reform program aimed at revitalizing Egypt’s economy, which had been battered by years of political upheaval and bloodshed following the 2011 uprising that deposed longtime tyrant Hosni Mubarak.
The IMF agreed to the measures in exchange for a $12 billion loan, which Egypt’s government received in 2016.
The measures included floating the currency, significant reductions in state subsidies for essential items, and the imposition of a slew of new taxes. They triggered a huge increase in costs and services, which critics claim has disproportionately harmed the poor and middle class.
According to government figures, 29.7 percent of Egypt’s population of over 100 million people live in poverty.
El-Sisi has regularly expressed gratitude to Egyptians, particularly women, for bearing the brunt of the tough measures.