Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil (L) shakes hands with IMF chief Christine Lagarde
Cairo – Akram Ali
Egyptian Prime Minister, Hesham Qandil, said that the government will invite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to visit Egypt at the end of October to negotiate the 4.8 million dollar loan that Egypt requested last month.
In the opening of the Euromoney conference on Tuesday, Hesham Qandil said in the presence of various minsters, businessmen, and prominent members of the Egyptian economy: “We are meeting today to talk about the current Egyptian economy and our hopes for it. But we cannot attempt to discuss the state of the economy without also addressing the current political situation in Egypt.”
The Euromoney Egypt 2012 conference is considered the first and primary investment conference after the January 25 Revolution.
Qandil added that Egypt faces difficult challenges in terms of the budget in light of protests and the increase of unemployment after the revolution. But, he stressed, the government is working hard to resolve this crisis. He pointed out that the state budget will have its contents changed in the next fiscal year, in order to increase spending on health and education as a priority.
Richard Banks, Regional General Manager of Euromoney said: “We are delighted to reconvene our conferences this year in Egypt for the first time. We were in touch with Egypt during the revolution and after, so we understand how vital it is for capital and foreign investments to flow into the country once again. We would also like to play a pivotal role in this. This conference is passionately awaited by various interested regional and international parties in Egypt. It is expected that 600 people will attend from different state and economic sectors and are very much looking forward to meet the new Egyptian government, the business community and senior stockbrokers in Egypt.”
Banks goes on to say: “The Financial Minister, Mumtaz Al Saed, said the return of investment to Egypt is very important to us, and despite the fact that we have a deficit in the state budget, investment is the only way to save Egypt’s economy and reduce the unemployment rate. Our main concern as a new government is to build bridges of trust with investors.”
Mumtaz Al Saed added that he demanded a 170 million Egyptian pound investment from the Arabic and international community, adding that Egypt has a current investment that has been distanced from the Egyptian market by saving more than 16 million dollars that came out of Egypt as a result of uncertainty because of the revolution.
Al Saed clarified that the state budget has about 533 Egyptian pounds and there is a deficit plan of 135 million Egyptian pounds. He said: \"The volume of financial liquidity did not help in saving this deficit and we undoubtedly rely on the help of the international community. We have negotiations with the IMF at the end of this month. The Ministry of Finance is preparing a conference on the projects after a feasibility study of their own is completed and it is soon to be released.\"
Al Saed said people should not oppose the investment into Egypt, and they should not spread rumours, adding: “I would like to tell all investors in Egypt that we are on their side and we don’t stand against anyone’s gain, because we are aiming to reduce the deficit in Egypt, and we hope that there are big projects in the future that could attract more investments.”
Al Saed also asked Egyptian workers to participate in the national projects that are established by either the government or private sectors.
He said that in regards to state budgets, there is a financial gap and there are a set of procedures to follow: “We aim to establish an integrated social program through unifying the health care insurance system that would apply to 50 percent of Egyptian citizens.”
The IMF loan negations will take place at the end of the month and the government is involving various sects in the decision making process. It is also working on attracting foreign investments into Egypt.
Al Saed also announced a conference in January 2013 to announce new projects that will be launched next year.
Osama Saleh, the Minister of Investment, said Egypt has got a tough road ahead with its attempts to improve the state of its investments to create more job opportunities.
“We have 28 new projects that will be launched in the coming days. Additionally, there are 14 projects that will be announced next January to help increase investment in Egypt,” Saleh declared.
Saleh said that Port Saed will become one of Egypt’s vital ports and in the region very soon, after development projects which they are currently working on.
Tarek Amer, Chairman of the National Bank of Egypt, also participated in the conference as well as Hisham Ezz Al Arab, Chairman of Commercial International Bank, Nidal Al Qasim Asir, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, and various business sector leaders.
The conference takes place within two days and addresses how to achieve “a new start for Egyptian economy” and encourage foreign investors to invest in Egypt, and grant Egypt loans for its development needs.