Egypt PM: Despite challenges, economy can improve

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil said in a speech Monday that the state of the Egyptian economy can be improved, despite the large challenges facing it.

In his speech to the New Dawn Conference, organized by Beltone Financial in Cairo, Qandil pointed to the need to address the budget deficit and stimulate economic growth to provide a decent life for the Egyptian people.

The prime minister added that the government is obligated to find ways to cut spending and create new funds for infrastructure to build schools, improve health and education, and contribute to the country’s development.

He said there would be a popular dialogue about the steps to be undertaken by the government to fill the budget deficit, and added that the government will continue to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for a loan that would cover 25 percent of the country’s needs to fill the budget deficit.

Deputy Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater and officials from the group’s Freedom and Justice Party attended the conference.

Qandil said the economy is set to improve after the country’s recent transition.

“Egypt is in the best status because of the existence of an elected president and a government that is responsible and able to make decisions to provide a suitable environment to improve the education, health and investment environment,” he said.

He said indicators show the economy has recently improved, according to reports by global institutions monitoring the economic performance.

Qandil added that the tourism sector would grow significantly and continue to improve with continued efforts to improve security. More than 1 million tourists visited Egypt in August, compared with 900,000 during the same month last year.

The prime minister highlighted the need to reform some sectors, and to consider settling disputes with investors out of court as much as possible to end outstanding issues with investors from different countries.

Qandil said the government also allows freedom for investors to exit the markets, because it allows them to quickly establish their companies.

He added that the government is interested in developing small- and medium-sized enterprises so the poor can benefit from the growth that is happening in the country, and also said that the government is interested in dialogue with all classes within the community, so that everyone can have a stake in decision-making.

Qandil said the government would encourage the private sector to enter power generation projects in partnership with the public sector, in addition to other ideas that he said would be discussed in the near future.

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