"We Need to Understand" El Sadat Calls for Open Dialogue

President of the "Reform and Development" political party, Anwar El Sadat, called the President and the Government to hold urgent dialogue sessions with economists and investment experts. In the absence of an elected parliament, those sessions will be similar to hearing sessions currently held with politicians to reach out to the public opinion and involve the community in decisions pertaining to its economic and social future.

Hence, El Sadat addressed a number of questions and issues prepared by his political party to the President and the Government as follows:

  • Regarding the President's project to reclaim 4 million new acres of land, 1 million per year: how many acres were finished? Was the land distributed to major companies and did they accomplish any progress? Where is the share of small and medium investors from this land? Finally, were the studies on available water resources finalized? Will this land suffer after the stored groundwater is consumed? 
  • The project aiming at building one million housing units in five years: only 52,000 units only were finished in the first year (20% from the target per year). Who is accountable for the delays? In addition, will the youth afford to buy these units?
  • Government spending on education in the 14/15 budget amounts to 94 billion EGP (9 billion more than 13/14 budget and 28 billion EGP more than 12/13 budget). Meaning that overall spending increased by 43 billion EGP over two years. So, how was such a large excess of funds spent and allocated. The excess will even expand as the spending on Education, either school or university level, will reach 6% of GDP in 16/17 budget. Thus, we strongly demand that ministers of education and higher education provide a well-detailed report for the changes that happened in the quality and performance of educational process because of these radical increases in funds. We need to understand whether we will keep spending without any vision that connects inputs to outputs and outcomes of the educational process, and without concrete indicators to measure the success of educational policies and their effects on the society either intellectually, economically or social behavior.
  • The government spending on health increased from EGP 26 billion in 12/13 budget to 42 billion in 14/15 budget, meaning an overall increase in spending over two years by about 25 billion pounds. We wonder here about the extent of change that has occurred in the public health services. In fact, we have not noticed, through our presence in the cities or villages, any significant change in the quality of public health services and we are still trying to search for grants and donations to support the charity clinics. Thus, we call on the Minister of Health to provide a comprehensive and detailed report on these black holes in the health sector, which drains money with little impact on output. Add to that the annual spending of more than EGP 9 billion by other government economic bodies on health services (not included in the public budget) which amounts to 20% of the total health expenditure of state institutions. This shows a clear gap between the share of the average citizen and the share of staff working in government economic bodies. We hereby demand a comprehensive review of the system of public health services, so that the most impoverished Egyptian citizen receives the same quality of health service as the highest official in the state. 
  • Does the Holding Company for Gases steal the brick factories that are committed to environment friendly practices? It seems, according to the factory owners, that the company pumps the gas at low pressure but they issue a higher consumption invoices, causing heavy losses and forcing factories to use environment-damaging Mazut fuel to make up for their losses.
  • There exist a black market for Taxi licenses that pushes its cost by EGP 40 thousands as the authorities offers very few licenses for operating taxis each year. Why would the government impose such unjustified obstacles against the taxi service, which is a low capital project that can employ hundreds of thousands of youth and job seekers, and simultaneously reduce traffic congestion?
  • How were the grants for employing youth spent? How many young people they employed? How come the loans are given to youth with an interest of 12% while most of the grants are paid to the government in dollars and mostly without interest?
  • Special cadre jobs in the government are almost exclusively for men; official data shows that women have a less than 3% share in that employment category. That situation represent a clear and unacceptable discrimination against women. 
  • What is happening inside the Radio and Television Union? The annual losses of the Union reached more than EGP 3 billion per annum, a large loss that the public budget covers! How such a highly resourceful and experienced institution incurs such heavy losses while newly established TV private channels make net profit and much wider media impact? An urgent investigation with the leading officials of the Union must be conducted to account for such a drastic failure for one of the oldest media institutions in the Middle East. 
  • Official data of the Central Authority for Organization and Administration reveals that there is more than 700,000 vacancy in the government! So, where are the government plans to raise the efficiency of government performance, control wages, and stop the inflation of the governmental body? Why would a low efficiency government of almost 6 million workers need 700 thousands more employees?!
  • Industrial Development Authority puts more obstacles than help in front of the industrial projects and provide very little benefit to the investor.
  • The party supports the establishment of independent industrial developers, which reduces the number of institutions that deal with industrial investors to only one body. It can be executed through the formation of industrial cooperatives organized by serious investors.
  • Land allocations for industrial investment are insufficient to meet the investment proposals, and opens the door to a black market for industrial land.
  • The party demands that land allotment for industrial projects converts into an ownership status, or renews automatically at the end of allotment
  • Taxes on stock market gains has clearly led to a significant decline in trading volume and reduced the attractiveness of Egyptian Stock Exchange to foreign and Arab investors as well as local investors. The expected revenues from this tax is about EGP 2.6 billion in the budget of 14/15, less than 1% of the total tax income. We wonder whether the yield of this tax justifies the turmoil in the capital market, which strongly now needs all the support to promote the IPOs and capital raising to pay for new investments and more jobs. We do not object to the application of taxes on companies in the areas of their operations, provided they do not lead to the loss of competitiveness to our surrounding markets. We demand that the government deals with high sensitivity with the capital market, which is the main platform for directly financing large and medium-sized enterprises.
We demand explanations and clear answers to be communicated to the public.

Anwar El Sadat


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