Egypt announces financial stimulus package to cushion COVID-19 impact

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CAIRO, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Tuesday a package of financial stimulus to limit the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the citizens.

"The measures include 100 billion Egyptian pounds (6.3 billion U.S. dollars) of soft loans provided by the Central Bank of Egypt with a five-percent interest rate for the manufacturing sector," al-Sisi said in a televised comment.

He also ordered a real estate tax exemption for three months, three-installment payment of the tax until June 30, and unfreezing the bank accounts of default investors when they pay 10 percent of the debt.

The civil aviation sector that has suffered huge losses amid the COVID-19 global crisis would be offered a bailout package, the president said.

Meanwhile, the tourism sector will be offered 50 billion pounds in loans and exempted from the real estate taxes for three months to avoid sacking employees, he added.

Besides, the president also announced three-month grants for irregular and seasonal workers.

He instructed the Egyptian Armed Forces to distribute 3 million to 4 million staple boxes at subsidized prices and, if needed, for free for certain social segments.

Highlighting "no issue with wheat strategic reserves," al-Sisi said the government will "make more expensive or bigger contracts if needed."

Since mid-March, the Egyptian government has taken gradual steps to contain the coronavirus spread, including suspending schools, universities and international flights.

A two-week curfew was imposed on March 24, while all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping malls and other shops have shut down until April 14.

Egypt has so far confirmed 1,322 cases of COVID-19, including 259 recoveries and 85 deaths. Enditem

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