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Egypt PM, Madbouly announces wheat backup as Ukraine/Russia war stops flow

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Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has announced that the country will diversify its sources of wheat to avoid relying on what he described as “specific sources” for this product.

 

The minister added that the country would be using its strategic reserves until the end of 2022.

The announcement followed a ban on the export of wheat and other food staples announced by Ukraine.

 

Madbouly said the government is intensifying work to continue providing a strategic reserve of basic commodities, especially wheat.

 

“(We are) providing the financial funds required for the Ministry of Supply to quickly pay the dues of farmers who will supply the wheat crop during next April, while giving them the necessary incentives in this regard,” he added.

 

“The government …is closely monitoring current developments at the global level, and the turmoil it is witnessing due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions … especially the shortage of a number of goods and the rise in prices worldwide.”

 

Last year, Russia accounted for 69.4 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports, while Ukraine accounted for 10.7 percent.

 

I assure all Egyptians that we won’t have any crisis at all or be compelled to buy from the international market until the end of this year. I am talking about the citizens’ basic needs concerning the bread loaf, we as the Egyptian state won’t be pressured at all to buy any shipments under the current price surges as we will have a stock that will cover our needs until the end of 2022″, said the Egyptian prime minister Mustafa Madbouly.

 

Egypt relies on Russia and Ukraine for the supply of wheat that is turned into bread, noodles and animal feed.

 

“It is true that Russia and Ukraine were our main source of wheat but we have already started to diversify our sources of wheat for imports in future deals, and that is already applied. We already buy (wheat) from various other countries. So we are always securing the diversity of our wheat sources so that they are not limited to specific countries”, promised the prime minister.

 

Sharp spikes in the cost of wheat could severely affect Egypt’s ability to keep bread prices at their current subsidised level.

 

Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said Egypt is working on a plan to import wheat from other regions instead of Russia and Ukraine. Egypt has 14 countries approved to supply wheat, some of them outside Europe, he added.

 

“Egypt has a strategic stock of wheat approaching 5 million tons in silos or mills, and local wheat will join them starting from next April 15, to suffice the stock for a period of nine months,” Saad said.

 

Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world. The government expects wheat imports to decline from 5.5 million tons in 2021 to 5.3 million this year due to growth in domestic production.

 

 

 

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Politics

The Kenyan effect? Nigerian lawmakers agree to cut salary by 50%

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Following continued outcry against the high cost of governance amid humongous benefits accruing to public office holders in the face of soaring cost of living in Nigeria, the lower chamber of the country’s legislature— the House of Representatives— has agreed to donate 50% of its salaries for a period of six months.

 

 

The position comes after a motion of urgent importance for “An appeal to the proponents of the proposed nationwide protest, to maintain peace, eschew violence and open windows for meaningful engagements with the governments at all levels in order to address their issues” was raised by a lawmaker on Thursday.

 

 

There have been reports of an upcoming statewide mass demonstration by youths to show their unhappiness with the country’s hardships, which include high living costs, food scarcity, unemployment, and other issues.A viral poster on social media announced a nationwide demonstration on August 1 about the country’s hardships.

 

 

A similar kind of protest recently broke in Kenya, forcing the government to reverse a controversial tax bill, and announcing major cuts in public offices and office runnings. But the protest wasn’t without violence and vandalism. Nigeria like Kenya can be a susceptible the same protest approach with the hunting memories of the 2020 #EndSARS protest fresh.

 

While recognizing that Nigerians had the constitutional right to seek better living conditions, the Ogun legislator encouraged the youngsters to give the government a chance to solve the nation’s concerns.

 

Isiaka said, “The citizens of Nigeria have the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and protest to address their grievances but the House is pleading for reason, understanding, and unity in the face of adversity.

 

“This honorable House appeals to the proponents of the proposed nationwide protest in Nigeria to consider a different path, a path of patience, dialogue, and collaboration, prioritise peace and open channels for meaningful engagements with the government at all levels.

 

“We urge all stakeholders to uphold the principles of democracy, respect human rights, and uphold the rule of law in their actions and engagements

 

 

The Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, presided over the session and gave members the opportunity to contribute to the motion. When it was time for the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, to speak, he amended the prayers by pleading with his colleagues to sacrifice 50% of their salaries to support the government’s intervention efforts to address the situation.

 

“This government is doing its best, but one year is not enough to address the challenges of this country. I want to plead with our colleagues to sacrifice 50 per cent for a period of six months.

 

 

“Our salary is N600,000 a month. I want to plead that we let go of 50 per cent of our salary for a period of six months,” Kalu said.

 

 

According to the International Monetary Fund, the general government expenditure consists of total expense and the net acquisition of nonfinancial assets. Despite its growing economic challenge and the uncharitable tag of been “poverty capital” of the world, Nigeria’s public office holders are part of the best paid across the world.

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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