Ahmed Kouchouk — Deputy Minister of Finance and Official Spokesperson for the State Ownership Policy Document — affirmed on Wedneday the government’s commitment to work towards achieving a comprehensive and serious societal dialogue on the document before its final approval.
In a panel discussion with the leaders of the finance ministry, Kouchouk said: “We are serious about societal dialogue and listening to all points of view to crystallise a unified and ambitious vision that will help us formulate an economic constitution that aims to increase the role and contribution of the private sector, maximise its export and competitive production capabilities in regional and global markets, increase its contributions to public investments and the national product, and achieving development in its comprehensive and integrated sense in a way that contributes to laying the foundations for a decent life for citizens and improving the services provided to them.”
“We are targeting various mechanisms for participation with the private sector to achieve the highest economic return on state assets by working to establish strong mechanisms to regulate the market and promote fair competition.”
He also pointed out that the Egyptian state and government aim to provide large and golden investment opportunities in promising sectors in order to benefit the business community and investors from the improved the infrastructure, which has become more attractive to local and foreign investments and is more capable of achieving economic and development goals, especially in light of the challenges posed by global challenges that require localising the industry and increasing production activities in a variety of ways that are consistent with what is provided by the ownership policy document.
Furthermore, Kouchouk indicated that the state offers unprecedented prospects for partnership with the private sector to raise the proportion of private sector investments from 30% of the total investments of the state to 65% in the next three years, as the government plans to exit from 79 sectors and reduce its investments in 45 others.
He then explained that reducing the government’s investments in some sectors and increasing them in others aims to achieve the highest return, and that the citizen is the beneficiary of what is included in the State Ownership Policy Document, which aims to provide more productive job opportunities for youths and ensures the quality of production by promoting fair competition among all companies.
To clarify, the state’s gradual and partial exit from some sectors does not mean abandoning programmes that support low-income people, but rather, the document aims to achieve financial savings to strengthen social safety nets and expand the financial space to enable the state to maximise spending on human development and improve the lives of its citizens.
He stressed that the participation of the private sector in some sectors will not affect the beneficiaries of the support, pointing out that the state will not abandon its supervisory role in the Egyptian market, but rather will strengthen that role to confront decisively any monopolistic practices in a way that ensures the provision of citizens’ needs of goods and services.
Additionally, Kouchouk said that the experiences of 30 countries around the world were studied before the issuance of the State Ownership Policy Document, around which consensus is now taking place through 30 specialised sessions for experts and stakeholders managed by the Information and Decision Support Centre in the Cabinet.
The sessions discuss a survey of the opinions of international institutions and users of the ‘Sharek’ application, along with any other public opinion to ensure that all parties’ concerns are taken into account.
Kouchouk also asserted that document — in its first phase — targets a three-year timeframe that will be updated for subsequent periods.