Egypt Feels Pain of Global Disruptions Wrought by War and Pandemic
Some tax withholding practices were also changed, he added, reducing the cash he can keep on hand. While he understands the government is aiming to increase revenue, he said the approach could deter entrepreneurship.
“It’s suffocating small businesses,” he said.
Gamal Osman, 59, a warehouse worker in Tanta, a city about two hours north of Cairo, said he was also paying more in fees for basic services, like renewing his identification card. He said that he had cut back to eating meat only once every two weeks and that, still, he could not save money like he used to.
“You can feel it in everything you do,” he said. “From the moment you step onto the street until the moment you go to sleep.”
Still, others see opportunity in the hardship.
Mohamed Ehab is a marketing director for an auto company that introduced Jetour, a Chinese brand, into the Egyptian market in 2020. Sales were booming last year, but the new import rules have snarled the business.
The company stopped accepting orders months ago and is focusing on expanding service centers.
Mr. Ehab said that there was still demand for a practical family car, even after prices shot up with the devaluation. The company’s lowest-priced car went up to $26,000 from about $18,000, largely because the importers have to pay China in dollars.
But he is hopeful that the impasse will spur the government to offer incentives for auto companies to assemble their products inside Egypt, which could generate jobs and make cars more affordable.