In a speech on Monday at the inauguration of Geit El-Aneb residential project in Alexandria, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi mourned the victims of the boat carrying illegal migrants that capsized off the coast of Rashid in the Mediterranean Sea. The president also asked young people to abandon the idea of migration and instead stay in Egypt, arguing that Egypt has lots of job opportunities and “desperately needs them”.
“There is no justification for the death of the [more than] 160 people who drowned. This matter [illegal migration] should be powerfully resisted. Egypt’s land and sea borders span 5,000km. Society, as a whole, should actively participate with the state in countering illegal migration operations,” Al-Sisi said in his speech.
Similarly, Al-Sisi reproached Egyptians who have the desire to migrate illegally, asking them to stay in Egypt, as the state will provide full care for them.
“What are the reasons that pushed you to leave Egypt, your country? Egypt will not neglect you, and there are many jobs here. I will be held accountable for the death of each person who dies due to illegal migration,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, on the ground, a battleship affiliated to Rashid Petroleum Company was sent to the site of the sunken boat as a preparatory step to lift it from the sea bed, according to state-run newspaper Akhbar Al Youm.
The death toll reached 178 on Monday, after dozens of families came forward to say that they did not find the bodies of their relatives and they must be trapped inside the sunken boat, according to a resident in Rashid who spoke to Daily News Egypt on Monday on condition of anonymity.
Regarding the state’s role in limiting illegal migration from Egypt, Al-Sisi noted that his regime has initiated the establishment of several projects to provide job opportunities for the youth, especially in areas of Egypt where the phenomenon of illegal migration is rife.
“I want to say that there is still hope, especially in the area from where the boat departed. A huge “fish cultivation” project will be executed there. This project will be the largest one in Egypt, but its establishment will take time,” Al-Sisi clarified.
He called on residents of Kafr El-Sheikh governorate to engage in the under-construction national projects instead of following in the footsteps of those who chose to leave Egypt illegally.
The state is also planning to provide these areas with an “industrial zone”, but there have been delays due to government measures to settle the zone’s site, according to the president.
Due to delays in finishing several residential projects, Al-Sisi questioned several leading military figures, who were attendees at the inauguration ceremony, about the hold-up in the delivery of 1,500 apartments in El Dabaa, North Coast.
As usual, the president warned Egyptians about the fate of other countries whose citizens are now refugees. Egypt refuses to be a state that churns out refugees, he said.
Following a wave of intense criticism on social media and other media outlets regarding the role played by the Egyptian Armed Forces in affording baby formula, Al-Sisi condemned the attack on the army’s participation in solving several crises that face Egyptian citizens.
“There was a fierce attack on the army, in addition to campaigns attempting to discredit the forces and personnel, aiming to make citizens lose confidence in their army—so you should be on the alert,” Al-Sisi warned Egyptians.
Moreover, he asserted that Egypt is currently living through [an era of scepticism] to any “achievement” on the ground, through the dissemination of rumours that discredit the abilities of the army and the state. The president pointed out that many achievements can take a long time to be seen in reality.
As a warning to any potential threat, Al-Sisi said that the army, along with police forces, will eliminate any danger that threatens Egypt. The army, he added, has the ability to rapidly deploy all personnel across the entirety of Egypt in just six hours.
There are now no waiting lists for patients with Hepatitis C following reforms by the Health Ministry. The government scans all citizens applying for a governmental job or those required to complete military service, said Al-Sisi.
On foreign relations, Al-Sisi considers Egypt to have a “balanced foreign policy”, saying that the world appreciates this policy. “Any threat to Gulf countries’ national security is considered a threat to Egypt,” he asserted.
Al-Sisi then moved to talk about the reasons behind the phenomenon of rising prices, asserting that inflation and shortages in supply are the main reasons.
“The increase in government employees’ salaries and pensions without an increase in supply is the main reason for the recent price hikes. The government has increased the annual salaries of government employees to EGP 150bn, and pensions to EGP 53bn. The rate of supply, on the other hand, saw a series of shortages,” he explained.
In addition to these aforementioned reasons, Al-Sisi also considers the lack of strict censorship on markets and the dollar crisis a cause of rising prices.