Egyptians lampoon one dollar Ramadan bonus

Government’s announcement of payment prompts Twitter hashtag asking “What will I do with seven Egyptian pounds?”

About 25 percent of Egyptians live in poverty according to the World Bank [Getty]

The Egyptian government’s offer of a seven Egyptian pound ($1) bonus payment for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has sparked widespread ridicule among Egyptians on social media.

The country’s Minister for Supplies Khaled Hanafi said on Monday that he hoped the amount would help Egyptians buy what they needed for the month.

The sum, which could buy either four and a half falafel sandwiches, five kilos of bananas, or three packets of potato chips prompted a series of sardonic posts on social media sites.

A resulting hashtag, which translates to ” What will I do with seven pounds? “, poked fun at Hanafi, and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, picking up more than 11,000 mentions according to social media analytics site, Topsy.

In one image, borrowing a scene from an old Egyptian movie, a man is seen telling his wife that they could not afford to spend any more in Ramadan. The woman replies telling her husband not to worry because the government was planning to gift them seven pounds in the holy month.

Another user said the money could be put towards buying a new Ferrari.

Others on Twitter used the attention on Hanafi’s offering to criticise the government for its handling of the economy. One widely retweeted image showed Egyptians scavenging tomatoes from a rubbish tip in Alexandria, describing it as an ugly scene.

However, some users defended the decision, calling it fiscally responsible.

“With low GDP, it’s fair enough,” said one user, Amro al-Gazzar, who lives in Cairo.

About a quarter of Egyptians live below the poverty line according to the World Bank, with youth unemployment at nearly 40 percent .

Source: Al Jazeera


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