World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt plans to open a new shipping route in the Suez Canal in August amid hopes that the waterway will bring increased revenue to the Arab world’s most populous country.
But the announcement that the new waterway’s official inauguration would cost nearly $30 million has drawn the ire of many Egyptians, who see the mega-project as an attempt to draw attention away from their daily woes.
“When looking at the [Egyptian] regime's policies over the past year, the high cost of the ceremony is to be expected,” Abdelrahman, a political science academician, who preferred not to give his full name, told Anadolu Agency. “If this figure is correct, the $30 million will go toward conveying an image aimed at making Egyptians believe in the regime’s success and denying – or temporarily forgetting – Egypt’s economic and political realities.”
“The same technique has been used throughout the past year; it’s a temporary painkiller,” he added.
In televised remarks on Saturday, Hani Shukry, representative of the WPP consortium, which will organize the opening ceremony in August, said the festival would cost around $30 million.
He added, however, that the government would not pay a penny for the opening. Rather, he said, funding would be provided by Egyptian and foreign companies.
Egyptian authorities, for their part, hope the project will double Egypt’s annual Suez Canal earnings from a current $5.3 billion to $13 billion.
Khalid Hassan, a university professor, described the announcement as “media propaganda” aimed at improving the image of the al-Sisi regime.
“It also shows that the government has money – not for the poor, but, like most things in Egypt, for protecting and supporting al-Sisi,” Hassan told Anadolu Agency.
Islam Zyian, a PR consultant, however, sees no problem with the high cost of the planned inauguration.
“This is normal given the project’s size and significance,” Zyian asserted.Last Mod: 18 Haziran 2015, 15:48