President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi raised on Saturday minimum wage in Egypt by 67 percent or from 1,200 Egyptian pounds ($69.27) per month to 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($115.74).
In televised comments, he said the raise will be applied to all Egyptian workers.
The move was part of a package of measures, including a raise in pensions and bonuses, intended to ease the burdens of Egyptians hurt by painful austerity measures in recent years.
“This was supposed to come out on June 30. But I said this matter cannot wait,” the president said.
The austerity measures were part of an ambitious economic reform program intended to revive the country’s economy mauled by years of political turmoil and violence.
The reforms included floating the currency, substantial cuts in state subsidies on basic goods, and introducing a wide range of new taxes. The measures led to a significant rise in prices and services, something critics say has hurt the poor and middle class the hardest.
The reforms were agreed on with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $12 billion loan.
Sisi thanked Egyptians, especially women, for enduring the harsh measures.
“Another path would have led to the collapse of the state,” he said in a ceremony honoring Egyptian women.
The pay increases will cost the state 30.5 billion Egyptian pounds in total, Sisi said, noting that more than 300 billion pounds would be allocated for salaries in the 2019/2020 budget, up from 270 billion in the previous year.