Egypt's Sisi buys private jets after threatening austerity measures

Egypt's Sisi buys private jets after threatening austerity measures

Egypt's Sisi is buying himself a fleet of luxurious private jets days after he told the public he will enact tough austerity measures.

2 min read
17 August, 2016
Egypt hopes a $12-billion financing deal with the IMF will turn around the economy [Getty]
Egypt has signed a contract to buy four luxury private jets at a cost of $340 million, days after the president said he will not shy away from enacting tough economic reforms.

The Egyptian government signed a contract with French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation for four Falcon 7X private jets to replace the current fleet at a cost of 300 million Euros ($340 million), La Tribune reported on Tuesday.

"The contract is signed, the deposit is expected," the report said.

The news comes after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he will push through tough austerity measures that previous rulers avoided fearing they would spark unrest.

Sisi's comments came after an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $12 billion in financing that hinges on a reform package with state spending slashed and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

Local media quoted sources close to the president as saying the reports of the jet sale are "totally false".

A government source told The New Arab that there has been a "state of confusion" in the presidential palace following the release of the report in French media.

"Sisi has scrambled to release a denial of the report through pro-government media outlets without releasing an official statement on the issue," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

Egypt's economy has been battered by turmoil since a 2011 uprising ousted veteran dictator Hosni Mubarak, ushering in unrest that has driven away tourists and foreign investments.

The report has sparked angry reactions on social media from Egyptians.

Translation: "Just two days ago Sisi was saying we have a domestic debt that equals 98 percent of the GDP. So how are going to solve this by buying four luxury jets?"

This is not the first time Sisi has come under fire for extravagant public spending.

In February, a giant red carpet for the Egyptian President's motorcade in a Cairo suburb stirred controversy as the rest of Egyptians were being told to tighten their belts.