Prime Minister Hesham Qandil outlined the achievements and challenges facing his cabinet in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
President Mohamed Morsy met with Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and his ministers to review a three-month report put together by the Cabinet. The report, which is the first of its kind under Morsy and Qandil, stated the administration’s achievements over the past months and provided a roadmap moving forward.
Qandil said the cabinet addressed four central points when assembling the report, including the goals of the revolution, the implementation of concrete actions, the engaging of the Egyptian people, and the government’s ability to self criticise.
The prime minister affirmed that the four goals of his cabinet were “bread, freedom, human dignity, and social justice.”
“The government’s plan for the integrated development will not deviate from the four goals of the revolution, and it fully understands that as long as it makes those goals a reality that touches every citizen, it will continue to gain confidence in its citizens,” said Qandil.
The prime minister acknowledged the high expectations set by Egyptians due to the long wait for an improvement in quality of life following the 25 January Revolution.
The country faces a budget deficit of 10.6 per cent this quarter and an unemployment rate exceeding 26 per cent. He said although the country faces unprecedented local, regional, and international challenges, there would be light at the end of what he called Egypt’s “short tunnel.”
Qandil provided a number of indicators for the state of the economy, saying Egypt is currently ranked 101 out of 144 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index, and vowed to institute changes that would allow the country to rise in future updates of the index.
He said steps to lower subsidies on petrol, which is one of the largest government portfolios, were made in an effort to alleviate costs.
Qandil promised the government would refocus efforts to deal with problems of water shortage, electricity and food prices, especially in rural areas that have been hit hard during Egypt’s economic hardships.
He highlighted security as one of the most successful points in the government’s plans, pointing to success in cracking down on the drug trade. He thanked the “martyrs” who had died over the past eleven months, claiming police now respect human rights and the dignity of all Egyptian citizens.
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali provided Morsy’s comments following the Qandil meeting. The president demanded a timeline for the cabinet’s short term goals, which are set to expire in June 2014. He told Qandil to prioritise executive decisions in his plans, taking topics such as national security, corruption, and employment into account. Morsy asked Qandil to include tangible guarantees and goals within the framework of the report.
Morsy also pointed out to his prime minister that special emphasis needs to be placed on the security and development of Sinai. He indicated that continued efforts to attract investments and international agreements need to be achieved.
Additional reporting done by Ethar Shalaby