Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan - Press photo
CAIRO - 27 April 2020: Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan said that 2.5 million beneficiaries will receive President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's three-month grant for irregular workers.
In an interview with MENA Board Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Ali Hassan on Monday, the minister said that the first stage of disbursing the presidential grant for seasonal workers was finalized from April 13 to April 16.
The second stage of disbursing presidential grant for irregular workers started on Sunday, April 26, and will continue till May 10, the minister added.
The LE 500 monthly grant will be paid out at the branches of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE), he said.
Saafan further noted that the disbursement of the grant will be temporarily halted at Egypt Post offices from May 1 to 5.
The emergency payment will be resumed again at the post offices from May 6 to May 10, Saafan added.
The minister said that each beneficiary will receive a text message from toll-free phone number 2030 on his registered mobile phone number 24 hours before the date of disbursement.
In March, the manpower ministry announced the opening for the registration on its website www.manpower.gov.eg. to receive the monthly grant.
According to the Manpower Ministry's data, there are around 120,000 persons officially registered as irregular workers nationwide.
The allowance is meant to help irregular workers whose incomes were severed because of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
As for the Manpower Ministry's efforts to follow up conditions of Egyptian workers abroad in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the manpower minister said that he received reports around the clock from the operations room of the ministry's commercial representative offices at the Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad, which work 24/7 to reply to the workers' inquiries and provide support for them during this critical period.
Regrading efforts to reduce the unemployment rate to its lowest level in more than 10 years, Saafan said that the State managed ahead of the COVID-19 crisis to reduce the unemployment rates to unprecedented levels, thanks to major national projects implemented by the State, the organization of employment forum and the implementation of small and medium-seized enterprises by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA).
He further noted that the unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent of the workforce estimated at 28.9 million in the last quarter of 2019, after it was 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, compared to 13.2 percent during the first quarter (Q1) of 2013.
Saafan added that the ministry was planning to reduce unemployment rates in 2020 by 1 to 1.5 percent to reach 6.3 percent of the workforce, however after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic and what the world is going through in this regard, this plan will be revised.