Cool for the summer? Egypt’s government 'running country from luxury hotel at taxpayer expense'
Egyptian prime minister Mostafa Madbouli as well as most ministers and senior officials in the cabinet have been governing Egypt from luxurious suites at Al Alamein hotel on Egypt's north coast throughout the summer, a source close to the cabinet told The New Arab, confirming a report by our sister publication Al-Araby al-Jadeed.
At a timewhen almost a third of the Egyptian population of around 102 million live under the poverty line, Madbouli and his ministers are thought to be spending the summer with their families in suites costing over $2000/night at the taxpayer's expense, the source added on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
Alamein, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, is thought to be the most expensive hotel in Egypt.
“The reason for the high prices of rooms and suites at the hotel is that high-profile businessmen check in it to meet the ministers and discuss deals with them throughout the week,” the source said, adding that “some ministers who are required to remain in Cairo arrive at the hotel on Wednesday and leave after the weekend”.
The cost of the officials’ stay, worth millions of pounds, is covered by the government, according to the source.
Even though the cabinet never denied the current location of Madbouli, his place of residence has never been unveiled.
Egypt has been undergoing economic hardship over the past months. In March, the Egyptian pound plunged around 17% in value against the US dollar, following a rise in inflation and a rise in prices across different aspects of life, especially food.
The pound surpassed 19.11 EGP to the dollar at banks on Thursday compared to 15.77 before the recent wave of inflation.
Earlier in December, Egyptian president limited free and subsidised food rations that were provided to low-income bracket households, while, at the same time, banning rations to newlyweds, causing widespread criticism across the country.
Every family is entitled to free subsidies worth 55 pounds per person ($2.87) every month, while also receiving five loaves of Egyptian ‘balady’ (flat) bread/day. Poor Egyptians, who depend on bread in every meal of the day, have always complained about the limited amount allowed to them.
With the current rising prices, the free rations are worth almost two bottles of cooking oil or four kilograms of rice per person each month.