Speech of President Adly Mansour Marking Labour Day [document]

Brothers and sisters

Today I speak to you in celebration of Labour Day a day on which we honour the productive sinews, the vigilant eyes and the hardworking hands which Allah and His Prophet value.

We honour Egypt’s workers who represent the foundation of this country’s build-up who have directly contributed to our free decision-making, to achieving self-sufficiency and to exporting locally-made products indeed who work night and day to uphold the “made in Egypt” slogan.

A man’s worth is valued in terms of the services provided to society, country and nation. Workers constitute the basis for building a society they provide it with the elements of sustainability, livelihood and decent life. You, the workers of Egypt are an important sector of our nation, a driving force for our growth and progress. Your work is valued and your effort appreciated. Our orthodox religion teaches us that work is equivalent to the worship of Allah. So be steadfast and proficient and know that your country awaits the fruit of your effort and is keen on protecting your rights by providing social and health insurance coverage and decent living to all workers.

Brothers and sisters,

The great people of Egypt,

After two revolutions, Egypt stands in need of every effort and every drop of sweat it calls for all hands to be on deck, performing well. The upcoming stage is that of building our country and it requires all us to pitch in.

Since Egypt’s industrial progress in the 1960s, no ambitious or viable plan has been put into place in order to change and develop our production structure and transform ours from a profit-geared to a production-based economy, capable of competing in terms of both quality and pricing. For long years, we have not launched any industrial project, nor have we expanded in such heavy industries as iron and steel, aluminium or vehicles. We have also withdrawn from launching those technological and electronic industries that open up a huge world market and generate limitless opportunities, despite the existence of the local nucleus and expertise, which could be invested and built upon. Our economy requires a real breakthrough which aims at developing our industrial sector and puts it on a par with its equivalents in countries that launched their industrial aances at the same time as did Egypt in the 1950s and which now rank among aanced nations thanks to the sweat of their workers and to the growth of their industrial sector.

I am aware that the coming stage should witness an effort-sharing process in support of our country. Responsibility should be assigned equally to the various sectors of society, at the core of which are the workers, our springboard to progress. Industry was and still remains the base of economic development a fact Egypt has recognised since the 1950s60s, during which period heavy industries were launched in cooperation with the former Soviet Union. With industry representing the foundation of the economic structure of our new Egypt, we are keen on developing our old industrial infrastructure in cooperation with the friendly countries which helped establish our industrial base, with the purpose of keeping pace with progress and achieving the prosperity and welfare of our society. The first step we have taken towards penetrating technological and space industries has been that of cooperating with the Russians to design and manufacture our new satellite “Egypt-Sat 2”, which would be used among other things for purposes of development, agriculture and for early warning against torrents.

Alongside those major projects, which constitute the driving force of industry, we should give greater attention to small and medium sized (SMEs) enterprises given their role in achieving economic and social targets. SMEs are capable of achieving integrated economic development, both balanced and sustainable, generating work opportunities and reducing unemployment. With a relatively small capital, SMEs contribute to increasing GDP, thus improving the balance of payment by multiplying exports and reducing the imports of elementary production components, given those components which SMEs produce are used in major projects. In addition, SMEs are cable of achieving balanced and sustainable development, due to the ease with which they can be geographically accessible to all.

Brothers and sisters,

The loyal workers of Egypt,

I would to talk to you openly and frankly. As you all know, the energy sector in Egypt is going through a crisis, the effects and repercussions of which have negatively affected our household and industrial sectors. Numerous factories have stopped working. This reflects badly on workers’ income, increased prices of important products, particularly cement, which in turn affected the building and construction sector, one of most important economic sectors.

The energy crisis requires us all to pool our efforts in search of alternative sources, the important of which would be renewable sources. One such source is solar energy where in Egypt, the sun shines all year round. The economic feasibility of solar energy has been proven and the cost has gradually been reduced. Other sources include wind, and bio-fuel, extracted from household and agricultural waste (which would rid us of the health and environment problems resulting from such waste). These solutions, while indispensable, take time to implement. On its part, the government is determined to turn those thoughts and proposals into reality including the diversification of energy. Egypt’s energy mix is composed of 91% of oil and natural gas, with no other sources. However, the government has already started to put energy proposals into effect with the ongoing cooperation between the Ministry of Electricity and Energy and the Arab Organization for Industrialization.

Brothers and sisters,

The workers of Egypt,

We understand your demands. We also appreciate that you have tolerated for decades the difficult economic conditions, the increase in prices and the absence of justice in income distribution all of which have driven you once the door to freedom was opened to express your demands demands which Egypt can deny neither your nor any of your compatriots. You deserve all those rights as long as you dedicate yourself to work. However the present critical moment, and the legacy of political and economic burdens, requires all to show a great deal of understanding. Your country needs your support, effort and diligence. Be assured that your endeavour will be appreciated. Egypt needs every drop of sweat to achieve its prosperity and welfare.

Having spoken of rights and responsibilities, I now move to differentiate between the concepts of growth and development. Although figures show that in past years, Egypt’s economy achieved high rates of growth, reaching at some point from 7% to 8%, no improvement in the people’s living conditions was noted there were also no service upgrades achieved in the vital sectors such as health and education. Egyptians are entitled to a fair share of national income, to adequate services from the various sectors. In addition, they should have a share of human development in order to raise the level of their awareness and education to be trained on the latest technology, which would help them exert greater effort in performing their tasks and in expressing their creativity, in all fields including science, technology and industry.

Our first step towards achieving human development is to upgrade our technical education. We should call for the expertise of those countries, which succeeded in aancing technical education, thus improving the quality of their products and increasing their competitive capabilities. Their products are preferred for their quality and meticulousness. Developing technical education should be part of an integrated system, which extends to training and qualifying the human resources required for our across-the-board development. The value of work has been stressed in our religious. In a hadith Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be upon him) says: “Allah loves that if any of you does something that they would do it well”. However our society tends sometime to copy the culture of the people of those in what is not beneficial to us indeed in matters that contradict our system of values and disregard values that urge towards loving work and dedicating ourselves to it.

The loyal workers of Egypt,

I look forward to the establishment of a “National Council for Social Dialogue”, a council whose purpose would to promote dialogue the two sides of the production equation, namely the workers and the business owners, to support the economic projects which seek to generate work opportunities, and to develop the executive policies for the upgrading and optimal use of our human resources and for rehabilitating and raising the competitiveness and productivity of our workers. This would be the right path to increasing their wages and improving their circumstances. Past years indicate Egypt’s dire need for a skilled labour force to meet the increased demand of the internal and external labour market. We are set on honing your skills and increasing your productivity, thus qualifying you for better work opportunities with improved wages and better living conditions which would guarantee a decent life for you and your families. In this system, education should be geared to the country’s labour market. We cannot continue to bring out generation after generation in specializations not in demand, while other specializations are needed to achieve our much-coveted industrial revival. And whereas the responsibility of coordination between the various agencies rests with the government, society has a duty to perform namely to change society’s culture, which robs crafts of due respect. We all know that Allah’s Prophet’s, the most noble of Allah’s Creations, ate off the work of their own hands. It is essential that society realize there is absolutely no contradiction between people being civilized and cultured and their earning their livelihood from a craft, which prevents from being humiliated or impoverished.

Brothers and sisters,

The great people of Egypt,

Amidst all the challenges facing us in the transitional stage a stage during which we seek to cross to the future, terrorism shows its ugly face, killing people and destabilizing our beloved country, in an attempt to turn our hope into despair and our rejoice over the future into anguish. Terrorism has cast its dark shadows over a vital sector, indeed one the pillars of our economy, namely tourism a sector geared to many other industrial sectors in Egypt. At this critical stage, our country requires the solidarity of its people, not only to repel this looming threat, but also to restore our security so that tourism may resume its role as a national revenue-earner and as window showcasing Egypt to the world that it might see our real face, our eternal civilization, our great history, our magnificent architecture and our glorious arts. We do not wish our country to warrant its international standing from its immortal past. Our present and future should contribute to forming Egypt’s mind image at the international level. While we cherish our history, we should be proud of what we have built for our country and people.

After the January 2011 and the June 2014 revolutions, Egypt has great hopes. The future requires that the state with its various agencies assume a role, where past mistakes would be avoided. We are determined to work unstintingly to prevent public sector losses. There will be no selling of public assets at cheap prices or without a clear vision. We will work hard at administrative restructuring of the sector until it turns, through the support of the support and the resolve of its worker, into a major national revenue-earner, in addition to achieving various state targets, which serve national. To the business owners and investors, I say that together with recognizing the role of the economic and industrial institutions, Egypt is aware of the importance of keeping abreast with progress. It further acknowledges the role of the private sector.

The variables of the age together with the developing political and economic systems has provided the private sector in each and every with enough room to grow and prosper indeed to contribute effectively to economic and cultural progress. From this podium, I hereby invite Egyptian businessmen and investors to contribute to building their homeland. I urge them to protect the rights of their workers. Be assured that this would translate in favour of your businesses in terms sincere and dedicated energy on the part of the workers. Assume your responsibility with the government to regain the glory of history. Remember that Egypt’s modern history was built at the hands of the Egyptian economist Talaat Harb, the man who Egyptianized our economy and enriched our social reality, in addition to his role in the banking and insurance sector. Continue therefore with your generosity to your country, which will always remember your commendable stances.

To Egypt’s loyal workers, I say that coming stage is set to witness an overall review of the legislations governing workers and business owners. The first step we have taken to that end is a draft labour law, which the rights of the two sides and clearly identifies the rights and obligations of each side. The draft adopts dialogue and negotiation as a means to settling problems. Given the legitimate demands of the workers, and the many problems requiring settlement in order to push the wheels of production, I hereby urge the Supreme Judicial Council to approve the establishment of a labour court to settle labour issues and achieve swift justice.

The Egyptian government is fully aware of the problems facing the people: price increases, bread lines, the concerns of families, the needs of the poor and of low-income brackets. Accordingly, I have issued directives to the government to adopt several decisions which the simple Egyptian person. I have also urged for swift action to help true claimants obtain their subsidized commodities using aanced methods that allow families to choose their goods while protecting from price fluctuations. The government has also adopted a decision whereby the banking sector will assist faltering factories. Funding of wage deficiencies in the textile and weaving sector will be maintained in addition to developing and restructuring endeavours. I trust in the understanding of the Egyptian people, who realize that increasing salaries and wages will be achieved through hard work and not by slogans that take us back to the past or by attempts to incite and instigate attempts indeed which undermine the future of our country, prey on people’s suffering and are incapable of introducing solutions. The keyword here is work. Working hard means producing more. Accordingly the government will be able provide you with adequate income, with social and health care, and with a stable and safe work environment.

Greetings be to the workers on Labour Day to those who strive for a decent life and for honest work to investors who open up opportunities of work and livelihood to others to those who provide outstanding products to support national economy to any who submits a useful thought, concept or proposal to those spread hope among Egyptians and to those who press on towards the future.

May God Save Egypt, g and safe and Protect our people

May His Peace and Blessings Accompany you

Source : Egypt State Information Service