Egypt would have plunged into darkness if not for the Zohr natural gas field, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Sunday.
The president’s remarks came during the Egyptian Economic Conference 2022, organised by the Egyptian government, which kicked off on Sunday.
Maritime border demarcation with Greece and Cyprus was essential for Zohr gas field development, he stressed, without it, oil and gas companies weren’t willing to invest in exploration and production.
Al-Sisi explained that without the Zohr gas field, Egypt would need $2bn monthly to import natural gas for its power plants, and this could reach $10bn monthly with the current prices.
President Al-Sisi said that there was a lack of confidence in the ability of state agencies to find a successful path amid difficult challenges and the continuous efforts of political Islam to discredit, distort, and sometimes sabotage.
“They [Islamists] did not have a real project or roadmap.”
Also, there was an absence of a clear vision on the part of many intellectuals, and thinkers of the magnitude of the challenges that Egypt has to face, he continued.
Al-Sisi said that the media often make an adversary of the government.
He added: “Our TV series and media when they discuss this issue, make the state an opponent despite the challenges it faces. Nobody said that the capacity of the Egyptian state with its current resources is limited.”
However, despite these limited capabilities, Egypt launched several initiatives that achieved tremendous results, such as in eliminating some diseases such as Hepatitis C.
He pointed to the state’s reliance on the waiting lists initiative, to provide a good medical service to citizens, pointing out that 1.4 million operations and advanced surgeries were performed during the past 3 years.
Al-Sisi said that the 40 new cities that were launched, added EGP 10trn to the Egyptian state treasury.
“I am ready to form committees to study what I say with all transparency. Those cities provided EGP 10trn in assets to the Egyptian state.”
He stated that the area of the administrative capital is 175,000 feddans, of which the state is now working on 40,000 feddans, adding: “Not a single penny was paid from the state budget. The Administrative Capital For Urban Development (ACUD) company that works here is renting everything they have developed for the government. After all this spending, ACUD has about EGP 45bn in the banks in cash, and around the same figure in credit from investors who bought lands.
“In 2016, when we decided to undertake the economic reforms and float the currency, all government officials said no. I realized that I need to use popular support to implement the largest reform strategy for the Egyptian state.”
Al-Sisi revealed that in 2016, he told the government to resign if the Egyptians refused the economic reforms and that he would have called for snap elections.
The president said that the state’s administrative apparatus was not ready to implement the reform plan, thus, it was clear that reforms should include the state administrative apparatus and address its decline.
He pointed out that state institutions are in charge of the reform process, explaining that it is not possible to form other institutions to carry out the reform process.
He pointed out that the quality of education is the main pillar of the reform process.
The purpose of the National Dialogue is to listen to each other, and to resolve any differences in opinions.