Sisi promises hope, job opportunities after migrant boat capsize

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged Egyptians not to leave their country, during a speech on Monday, a few days after a boat capsized off Egypt's Mediterranean coast killing more than 160 migrants.

During the inauguration of the “Bashayer El Kheir” housing project in Alexandria's Gheit El-Enab, Sisi directed his words to youth who emigrate illegally, saying there’s hope for a better future in Egypt, while promising to provide more job opportunities.

Sisi, who ordered authorities earlier this week to punish those responsible for the capsizing of the ship, said there’s no justification for the death of this number of people. He asserted that there are job opportunities in Egypt but said that solving persistent issues requires time.

“There’s hope. We’re responsible for reviving hope for every Egyptian… but we can’t overcome all obstacles and put an end to them in one, or two or four years,” said Sisi on Monday.

He added that bureaucracy and rules that hinder development should be broken in order to achieve progress. Several projects that aim to provide job opportunities and increase supply are currently being executed, according to the president.

Egyptians have been suffering during the past few months from rising prices amid a dollar shortage crisis, cutting of subsidies, and introduction of the value-added tax.

The president partially ascribed the increase in prices to the rise in the purchasing power of Egyptians, saying that salaries of the public sector “increased by LE150 billion in the past five years” leading to an increase in demand.

He added that an increase in supply, which is what he's attempting to achieve through the execution of new projects, should help in solving the issue.

In an attempt to support the country's ailing economy, Sisi, directing his words to banks, suggested setting up a fund from the change of the clients' transactions. He said that this would lead to the collection of large sums of money that could be allocated to development projects.  

Sisi also asked the media to highlight the country’s achievements. He added that there are people who spread false news to make people question the achievements that have been done and discredit the authorities.

This comes two days after the interior ministry said that it arrested more than a dozen people for seeking to create “a negative atmosphere” through “creating crises.”

The state and the armed forces are currently facing fierce campaign from critics, according to the president, who described the criticism as an attempt to “destabilize Egypt and discredit its authorities.”

The armed forces have taken control of several projects throughout the past few years including construction of main roads, bridges, hotels, schools and tunnels. They were faced by a wave of criticism earlier this month after they decided to intervene in the baby formula crisis as some critics perceived it as a step towards expanding the army’s role in the economy.

“The armed forces take part in projects based on my orders,” Sisi said.

Egypt has been facing a rising wave of terrorism since the military ousted then president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

Sisi however praised Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism saying that correct steps have been taken in the right direction regarding the issue. He also said that they have a plan in place that would allow “deployment of the army all over Egypt in six hours” to protect the country.

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