World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi on Friday urged Egyptians to use bicycles in commuting to save government-subsidized fuel amid a grinding economic crisis.
The newly-inaugurated president's statements came during a televised speech which he gave after having finished a 20km bicycle marathon on a highway between Cairo and the northeastern Ismailia city which he had called for.
"This same distance on a bicycle to commute to work or university would save the country 16 pounds (roughly $2) of subsidized fuel every day," al-Sisi said during the speech, which was reported on state television.
The former army chief, who had led the army to remove elected president Mohamed Morsi last July, has largely adopted a pro-austerity electoral discourse as a means to salvage an ailing economy triggered by three years of political turmoil in the wake of the 2011 uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
"Egypt is going through a difficult phase but its people are able to get through it with serious work and unity," said al-Sisi, who was declared the winner of late May's presidential polls by a landslide.
Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, has suffered a years-long fuel crisis despite it being a producer of oil and gas.
The country's acute fuel shortage is especially evident in the summers, which see increasingly long power cuts.
Egyptian officials have called for what would be unpopular reforms in the energy subsidies budget field; which amounted to 128 billion pounds (some $18.2 bn) during the 2012-103 fiscal year with expectations that the sum would reach as much as 140 billion pounds (around $19 bn) by the end of the current fiscal year in late June.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Haziran 2014, 16:11