Let me make one thing clear: I am not against pay increases, nor am I against raising the minimum wages, in fact I am all for them. However, I believe there is a question of more urgency, and one that worries Egyptians one and all, both the State and the community, that of unemployment.
The concern that should be the main focus of national effort is finding jobs for the young people who enter the job market every year. We have to look at providing jobs for the unemployed before discussing how to increase the salaries of the employed, especially bearing in mind that higher salaries lead to inflation.
The most advanced economies in the world are those geared to providing jobs. Unemployment is the scourge of the modern community: one needs only remember last year’s revolt by immigrants in France and all the torching and looting that went on to understand what a time bomb unemployment is.
I would like to remind the reader of the high rates of both unemployment and inflation and the attendant growing demand for higher wages. In this respect it may help to note that official statistics cite the rate of Egyptians living on the poverty line at 21.7 per cent, that is about 17 million, while 3.7 million of these are classified as ‘very poor’.
If rising inflation and high prices are behind the demands for better wages, then what are the millions who have no jobs and wages to do?
I realise this viewpoint runs against all the prevalent ideas, nevertheless I am convinced that this call is a not a step in the ‘opposite’ direction but a step in the right one. And just for the record, I am not against market economy but on the contrary am all for it, provided it is governed and regulated through relevant laws.