Friday Prayers for Egypt: More Reform

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Two more price categories are now set for increase: Water, by up to 50%, and bus tickets, the same. Subsidies are being slashed across the board, and inflation is rising.

The government has implemented procedures to help the poor, who are many. The economy is struggling, and has been imbalanced for a long time.

At least the reforms are doing something, God, but are they the right thing?

They are not the only reforms, though. The education minister revamped the elementary system and promises the same for high school.

Most agree education needs drastic improvement, God, but will it work? Will anything?

The people can only wait and see, and hope. Good news is that two new oil fields are producing at ‘unprecedented’ levels. New natural gas fields are near to extraction.

The requests are simple, God. Give wisdom to the ministers. Give support to the poor. Give patience to the rest.

But with patience, transparency and accountability. If the economy is put straight, put it straight for all. If it collapses… God, spare Egypt the tragedy. Spare the world.

Increase production, and slash corruption. Do what you wish with subsidies, but inflate the sense of national responsibility.

And reform, God. Reform well. The human heart and all beside.



Friday Prayers for Egypt: Fuel Subsidy

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It was approved earlier, but implemented now. It was expected before, but now felt in pocket.

It was to come, and more is coming.

The fuel subsidy was slashed, with some products doubling in price.

It hits the middle class and their fleet of automobiles. It hits the lower class with microbuses and gas bottles. The rich can take it, but it hurts them too.

All for the sake of the state budget.

Surely it is necessary, some say. Deficits are a debilitating reality and the IMF urges reform.

Surely there are alternatives, others say. The people are already poor.

The government doubled the discounted allotment for essential goods on the ration cards, to help.

A functional, efficient economy would help even more.

God, whatever the wisdom in subsidy reduction, bring about the greater goal.

Help the poor to cope. Help the rich to share.

Help the nation right itself.

Give Egypt the advisors necessary to find the path forward. Give her the leadership necessary to do what must be done.

You have given new fields of natural gas. Speed the extraction. Refuel the nation.

Bring holistic recovery, God. From your grace, subsidize hope.




Friday Prayers for Egypt: Subsidies Lifting

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The first shoe drops. President Sisi’s first substantial act of policy reduced the massive government subsidy on fuel. Though a government agency predicted a 200 percent rise in commodity prices, so far, it seems like he can make it work.

There has been a public outcry, of course, but no great surge in public demonstrations. Many economists say reducing subsidies was a budgetary necessary; in agreement or not some say the price will be paid by the poor.

But whether due to his popularity, his soft-spoken explanations, or a general weariness for protest, Sisi appears to be pulling it off.

God, if you have granted him success in this decision, grant him success in its results. May it ensure a government policy in line with resources, stimulating to the economy, and equitable for all.

This, though, if enacted wisely will be the long term result. In the immediate term there will be financial difficulty for many, no matter how many programs the government enacts to ease the pain.

The prayer is simple, God. Care for those most needy. Support the middle class. Command the wealthy to be rich in good deeds. Encourage generosity among all.

There is much speculation President Sisi is simply resetting the old order – politically for a particular elite, economically for entrenched patrons. In this step he has broken with the former policies of that order, but for whose interest?

May it be for the interest of the nation, God, and those of the people first and foremost. May a more just order emerge.

This is Sisi’s rhetoric, God, so hold him accountable through these same people, patrons, and elite.

Otherwise the dropped shoe may be lifted and its sole thrust in his face. Spare Egypt from insults; reform both the morality and the economy which produce them.

Fuel the creativity and determination toward wise and necessary policies. For the sake of Egypt, make them work.