Egypt’s government will soon put forth an integrated plan to stimulate the economy and implement social justice while maintaining fiscal discipline, according to Finance Minister Ahmed Galal.
These statements came during a press conference on Sunday night with a number of political youth groups, including Tamarod, April 6th and the Socialist Union, in addition to a number of liberal and Salafi parties. He stated that he would take into account all suggestions made during such meetings, while seeking to pursue Egypt’s economic interests and meet the aspirations of its citizens.
He said the ministry currently had two choices as to how to proceed in terms of future fiscal and economic policy. The first choice would be to cut the budget and implement a series of austerity measures in order to reduce the country’s budget deficit and public debt rates. The second would be to stimulate the economy through a series of expansionary policies whose goal would be to increase the amount of available work opportunities throughout the country. Egypt’s current government would pursue the second route he said, seeking to increase demand within the market by increasing spending in investment. He stated that the IMF meanwhile had always favoured implementing the first approach.
He discussed new measures that would soon be implemented such as a cash subsidies program, which would help improve the living conditions of Egypt’s poor, in addition to programs which would work to bring those working within the country’s shadow economy back onto the official market. Implementing social justice he said, would require ensuring the equitable distribution of investment in all provinces throughout Egypt, improving health and education services for citizens, and providing equal opportunities on the country’s labour market.
Those in attendance put forth several suggestions of their own as to how best to stimulate the economy, including removing restrictions placed on investment in telecommunication centres throughout the country, encouraging investment in solid waste treatment, in addition to putting forth a comprehensive industrial services policy. Calls to encourage investment in small and mid-sized development projects were also made, in addition to utilising aid recently received from Gulf countries in order to improve the country’s infrastructure.
A number of youth in attendance also suggested creating a fund to administer public assets, in addition to calling for the state to further involve itself in the country’s real estate market.