Op-ed review: Economic challenges pressuring Egyptians, calls on government role

Amira El-Fekki
3 Min Read

In state daily Al-Ahram, Farouk Goweida addressed the issue of market monopoly and the government’s monitoring role, pointing out that for decades and under previous regimes, the situation was conveniently beneficial for senior officials in connection with businesspersons and merchants. Goweida asked if the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has the will to counter those power centres which illustrated the corrupt marriage between power and money, arguing that the government is aware of such activities and the powers managing them, but the question would be if it is willing to shake things up.

Also, in Al-Ahram, Nasr Zaalouk opinionated that Egyptians’ hopes are stalled by increasing living costs of basic goods and services, putting the main responsibility on the government to regulate market prices and stand up against monopolies, in addition to pursuing different means to boost the economy, including increasing productivity, enabling youth to launch SME’s, and reinforcing technical schools to face unemployment and corruption.

In state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper, Ahmed Shalaby tackled SME’s, focusing on the Central Bank’s initiative to fund those projects with an interest rate of 5%. Shalaby mentioned the challenges cited by bank officials as obstacles to the success of the initiative such as providing the right work environment, training, entrepreneurs’ awareness, lack of technological development, and creativity in the new businesses. The writer called on the government to re-evaluate the project, and ensure coordination between different institutions to empower young entrepreneurs.

From a different angle, in the privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, Assem Abu Hatab tackled the question of how much money the government spent on the three-day World Youth Forum held under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Sharm El-Sheikh. On one hand, critics of the event highlighted the extravagant costs amid expenditure needs in health and education and increasing foreign debts. On the other hand, the government asserted that the event was funded through sponsors. To Hatab, both views were fair. First, it would be wrong to consider the WYF a profitable business and measure costs vs. profits since there are other political, social and promotional advantages of holding such an international event. Second, the government should be more balanced and considerate, rather than hold such “things for free.”

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Journalist in DNE's politics section, focusing on human rights, laws and legislations, press freedom, among other local political issues.
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