CAIRO: Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated members of parliament queried a recent government statement at the PA indicating economic progress, asserting that the Egyptian economy was moving from bad to worse.
Abd El-Hamid El Ghazaly, consultant to the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group and professor of political science at Cairo University, told The Daily Star Egypt that the past few years have witnessed deterioration in Egypt s economy which has become increasingly weak.
Poverty has reached 80 percent, if we measure it according to the United Nations definition of poverty starting from citizens who live on less than $2.5 dollars per day, El Ghazaly said.
That s not all. I argue that 40 percent of our population lives on less than LE 1 per day, he added.
El Ghazaly also indicated that the rate of unemployment and price hikes on essential products have increased tremendously.
One kilogram of onions has reached LE four and a half..one kilogram of meat costs between LE 50 and LE 70, he added.
These prices are an indication of Egypt s economic conditions, says El Ghazaly, who believes the root causes of this situation are the government s contradictory economic policies.
The government misuses its resources. On the one hand it invests in useless projects like Toshki , and on the other hand it put pours much funding into poor educational services, El Ghazaly said.
They government s priorities are wrong, he says. Instead of focusing on providing citizens with basic necessities like food, it funds national security to stand against the universal human right to protest.
National Democratic Party MP Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah countered that the government s statement was no more than a plan for the coming phase and an evaluation of the previous one.
Kwaitah acknowledged the government s great role in pushing economic growth.
Numbers do not lie. This year our economic growth reached seven percent. It used to be 3.5 percent in 2004. The size of investments increased to LE 600 million from LE 200 million three years ago, Kwaitah said, emphasizing the surge in foreign investments during the past few years.
But as usual the opposition and the brotherhoods have to argue for the sake of arguing, he added.
Wael El Hatow, vice president of investment banking in HC investment and Security, told The Daily Star Egypt that the economy in Egypt has witnessed noticeable progress.
The current government is doing a great job, El Hatow said.
The progress however, according to El Hatow, can only be felt by businessmen and top employees not the average citizen.
But it is only a matter of time before ordinary people begin to see the fruit of this economic boom, El Hatow added.
Hassan Fouad, general manager of the Egyptian Petroleum Institution begs to differ.
He told The Daily Star Egypt that issuing statements is the easiest thing to do in Egypt.
He said: The government says we have accomplished a lot in the past 20 years but the people neither feel these accomplishments nor trust the government and more.
I am not saying that the people are perfect either . No we are not dedicated or disciplined enough, but the government needs to lead us and make us trust it.