By Basma Tharwat
Several heads of Egyptian chambers of commerce expressed concern as to the potentially negative impact President Mohammed Morsy’s constitutional decree could have on local and regional trade, particularly with European nations. The European Union recently called on President Morsy to adhere to a democratic transition of power after his 22 November constitutional declaration.
“The negative effects of the declaration have already been felt, with the European Union calling on Morsy to respect the democratic process and the independence of Egypt’s judicial, executive and legislative branches,” commented the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Al-Beheira governorate, Fathi Morsy.
He added that the Union of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce would be holding an emergency meeting to discuss how the president’s decisions would affect Egypt’s economic relationship with the European Union in the coming months, and review complaints made by those who have already been negatively affected.
“Popular discontent with Morsy’s decision points to a lack of stability in a country whose commercial sector can no longer withstand more losses, especially with the decline of Egypt’s tourist sector,” said the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Red Sea Governorate, Hazem Mohamed.
The recent events have also “affected the movement of goods between Egypt’s provinces, the result of recent security lapses in some parts of the country that have denied some provinces access to basic necessities,” added Mohamed.
Muhammad Sifut Hashem, president of the Suhag Chamber of Commerce, said that a lack of proper security for cars transporting goods has made the free movement of cargo incredibly difficult between Egypt’s provinces.
“Industrial production in some regions has ground to a halt and real fears exist amongst businessmen that the drying up of investment, both local and foreign, may occur due to the lack of a clear, economic vision laid out in President Morsy’s constitutional declaration,” noted Hashem.
“Immediate measures will be taken to limit the effects of Egypt’s economic crisis on the country’s commercial sector,” stated the head of the union of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Ahmed El-Wakil.
“The final draft of the constitution has not led to the hoped for economic revival, or furtherance of those political ambitions born out of the 25 January Revolution,” said El-Wakil, adding that the constitution provides no clear economic vision for the country, something that is “desperately needed in order to improve the lot of workers, attract investment and increase confidence in the Egyptian economy.”