UN Security-General, António Guterres - UN Photo - Manuel Elias
CAIRO- 16 April 2020: Secretary-General António Guterres praised Egypt’s economic efforts to tackle the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Egypt has reduced taxation for industries and postponed taxation on agricultural land, and has expanded its social safety net program,” the Secretary-General said in a virtual meeting with leaders of the African Group members on Wednesday.
On March 22, 2020, President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi announced economic measures taken by the Egyptian state to face the subsequences of Coronavirus.
These measures included decisions related to pensions bonus and agriculture land taxes. According to the President, the government decided to include the five bonuses due for pensioners by 80 percent of the basic wage, in addition to granting the annual periodic bonus to pensioners to be 14 percent as of next fiscal year.
It was also decided to extend the moratorium on the tax law on agricultural land for a period of two years.
The Secretary-General affirmed the international organization’s full support for the African countries, saying “From procuring test kits to promoting debt relief, the UN will stand in solidarity with Africa as it braces against the unprecedented economic, social and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Guterres called upon all African leaders to unify their efforts in facing the COVID-19 pandemic, saying “we brace for the expected spread of the pandemic in Africa. This is in no way of Africa’s making. But, as with the climate crisis, the African continent could end up suffering the greatest impacts.”
He also called for debt relief for the African countries to overcome the impact of the virus outbreak, saying “The United Nations will continue to advocate for debt relief for Africa, including non-IDA [World Bank International Development Association] countries who cannot service their debt. Debt relief from non-Paris Club official creditors and London Club commercial creditors should also be part of the consideration.”