EGYPT: Government says it will pay civil servants, assures public of stable wheat supply
Egypt's new finance minister said Tuesday that the government would reactivate idled cash machines throughout the country to pay civil servants and pensioners cut off from their funds by the anti-government protests that have disrupted banking and much of Cairo's economic activity.
Finance Minister Samir Radwan said government employees could begin collecting their pay and pensions on Wednesday, once banks are able to reload ATMs and repair those damaged by protesters and looters. Those on the state payroll will be allowed to withdraw up to 1,000 Egyptian pounds per day, about $170, the state news agency MENA reported. That is a sum that exceeds a month's pay for most Egyptians.
It was not clear when or where employees of private companies might be able to get their pay. Many companies pay salaries on the first of the month, either through their banks or postal offices, both of which have been shuttered since anti-government protests began more than a week ago.
Long lines have begun forming at bakeries in the capital and other cities paralyzed by the protests, as fears have spread of impending food shortages due to the disruptions of shipping and delivery. The government has insisted, however, that there have been no delays of wheat shipments to the country, the world's biggest importer of the vital commodity.
-- Carol J. Williams