Sisi First Step Towards Economic Development
By: Ahmed Al-Jarallah
AFTER witnessing chaos in the last three years, Egypt needs true leadership to move towards security and stability while removing the ‘phantom’ of collapse. This is exactly what President Abdulfattah El-Sisi achieved when he obtained support of 97 percent of the voters in the presidential elections. Now, the journey towards economic development, which will lead to social stability and security in the country, has started with a series of historical decisions taken by the new president. Egyptians will reap the fruits of his labor soon.
In the past five decades, Egypt was like a laboratory for several economic and political experiences which commenced with nationalization by Jamal Abdulnasser until the termination of the ruling of Brotherhood members who wanted to make changes in the society by ‘confining’ the sources of income in the hands of the group’s leaders. Add to this the keenness of the group to take action aimed at separating constituents of the nation and to finally give up a part of the country’s land for the settlement of Palestinians in Sinai. However, the vigilance of the public and support of the Army to the revolution against the ruling ‘Morshid’ spoilt the plot of the Brotherhood; thereby, putting Egypt back to the path of unity and stability.
During that phase, the real mortgage was the economy, particularly in the recent years when the unemployment and poverty rates were high. This pushed the country into the tunnel of recession and it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Consequently, violence and crimes spread to an extent the concerned authorities thought there is no solution to the crisis. Yet, there were those who believed in the ability of the nation to work hard without giving up. Based on this belief, El-Sisi took decisions and made promises to the people. He then asked the entire nation to work hard in order to build the new Egypt.
Yesterday, the President issued a series of historic decisions related directly to people’s daily affairs among which – and the most important one – lifting governmental subsidies in which the beneficiaries include a few citizens who own palaces, villas and luxurious homes. They deplete electricity and water sources which they use in these lavish structures. They own luxury cars and benefit from petrol subsidy.
On the other hand, the poor, who constitute 93 percent of the population, do not enjoy subsidized petrol, electricity, water and other commodities. Therefore, the majority pays the price more than once as no allocation has been approved for health, education and even infrastructure which has not been developed for decades. Under such circumstances, the burdens of citizens have increased.
By lifting subsidies without affecting the citizens’ basic needs, there will be enough funds for the improvement of infrastructure. This will then reinforce international trust in Egypt and encourage investors to return to the country.
Within a short period, Egyptians have been enjoying ‘dividends’ of their right choice. This is what all Egyptians should take as proof to respond to anybody who tries to exploit those decisions for political purpose to incite the public against the government. I mean members of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, as well as their allies in Israel and United States, which unfortunately seems to be taking political decisions from Tel Aviv.
Every Egyptian should understand that the decision to lift subsidies is not against him as a citizen. If the picture they depicted for them in the past is that the government should take care of all aspects of their lives, even if it had to take foreign loans and operate under deficit with limited resources, it means they have been mortgaging their future in the hands of some countries and institutions. This is exactly what the regime of El-Sisi is trying to prevent.
The Egyptian President has done well by taking those decisions which will open a wide door in front of the country to save huge amount of money to be invested in certain areas to better serve majority of the citizens. It will also be beneficial to the national economy, which investors are watching from every part of the world. This major step has positive implications on Egypt, particularly in terms of gaining a competitive edge. It will not be alone in this move, because Kuwait will soon lift subsidies.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times