Egypt to charge people $3 to leave the country amid shaky economy

Egypt to charge people $3 to leave the country amid shaky economy
With Egypt's economic crises only worsening, the state is desperately trying to find new ways of raising revenues to pay off massive foreign debt.
2 min read
06 June, 2023
Egypt's parliament passed an amendment to the constitution that imposes exit fees on people leaving Egypt [Getty]

Egypt's parliament last week officially approved an amendment to the constitution imposing a 100 Egyptian pounds ($3.23) levy on people leaving the country.

The amendment means that everyone leaving Egypt will be subject to an exit fee, but foreign tourists departing from the governorates of the Red Sea, South Sinai, Luxor, Aswan and Matruh will pay a reduced fee of 50 pounds ($1.62). 

Parliamentarians said the legislation was needed to help generate as much income for the state as possible as Egypt faces one of the worst financial crises in its modern history.

But opponents say the fee will punish Egyptians who have already seen their quality of life significantly decline amid the economic doldrums, and deter cash-spending tourists from visiting the country.

Approval of the new legislation comes as news emerged Monday that Egypt is struggling to repay foreign debtors, with the state scrambling to find resources to meet its borrowings from external sources that have quadrupled over the past eight years.

Most of this borrowing was invested in what critics of the government have called "vanity projects", such as the New Administrative Capital

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The Egyptian government has said it will meet debt repayments, but measures such as the exit fee are seen by some analysts as attempts by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to circumvent the grand restructuring of the Egyptian economy that the IMF and many critics say must occur.

This level of restructuring would entail massively reducing the role that the powerful and outsized armed forces play in the economy.

The constitutional amendment announced last Monday also included other measures to try to boost Egypt’s ailing coffers. This includes taxes on non-essential goods and entrance to cinemas and all other entertainment venues.