Attracting investment is top priority: finance minister

Attracting investment is top priority: finance minister

A clear vision has been put in place to address Egypt’s economic woes, said newly appointed Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal in a Saturday press release by the ministry. (Photo CIGI)

A clear vision has been put in place to address Egypt’s economic woes, said newly appointed Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal in a Saturday press release by the ministry.
(Photo CIGI)

A clear vision has been put in place to address Egypt’s economic woes, said newly appointed Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal in a Saturday press release by the ministry.

Galal stressed that the interim government would seek to take “appropriate steps” towards addressing economic problems, but that it would first need time to review their effects “on the ground”. This was the only way the government could make sound decisions, he said.

Galal added that despite current challenges, the country’s economic future is promising, saying: “we hope to reach a consensus with all of the country’s various political factions… placing public interest above of all else, and not allowing anyone to operate outside the law”.

These statements came during a recent meeting attended by Galal and a number of other leaders from within the Ministry of Finance, in order to assess economic issues to be addressed during the transitional period.

Policies adopted by the Ministry of Finance would play an essential role in determining the policies adopted by Egypt’s other economic ministries, said Galal, adding that a consensus had largely been reached between different government ministries, with an emphasis on promoting diversity of opinion in order to help create a more comprehensive vision for the future.

Galal said that promoting fiscal responsibility and working to achieve a balanced budget would be among the Ministry’s top priorities during the transitional period, in addition to jumpstarting the economy, working to create new jobs, achieving social justice and extending the benefits of growth to all sectors of Egyptian society, particularly low income wage earners.

Regarding the country’s pending International Monetary Fund loan, Galal stated that obtaining the loan was part of the solution to achieving growth, but that it would not be the answer to all of Egypt’s economic problems.

The minister emphasised the importance of cutting spending in order to rein in public debt and balance the country’s budget deficit, two factors which have contributed to inflation and increases in the price of goods, which have created additional burdens for average citizens. He further emphasised the need to avoid pursuing undesirable deflationary policies that would have a negative effect on the labour market.

Galal called on the Ministry of Finance’s leadership to consider and review suggestions and innovative solutions being put forth in order to help address the budget deficit, increase public revenues, decrease spending and pursue new alternatives in order to reduce the burden associated with financing public debt. He called on institutions to be increasingly more efficient in addition to implementing new programs that possessed the kind of social flexibility needed to achieve social justice for all citizens.

The minister added that he believed in the importance of building on the achievements made during previous eras in addition to pursuing reforms, saying: “we will not exclude anyone from the decision making process, as it is necessary that everyone participate in helping to rebuild Egypt. Efficiency, constructive initiatives and partnership will be the foundation upon which future policies are set.”

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