President-elect Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has promised to work on boosting the economy by developing industry and agriculture and attracting direct investments, he said in his inaugural speech from the Itihadiya Palace.
Pledging to guarantee the rights of the poor and low-income citizens, Al-Sisi commenced his economic outlook by listing the challenges he said have paralysed the economy before 30 June 2013 protests, which caused the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Al-Sisi added that Egypt suffers from high internal and external debts, huge budget deficit, high unemployment rates, low tourism, a decrease in the government’s revenues, low foreign reserves and an energy crisis.
“Egypt has long suffered from an economic deterioration and the absence of justice and equal opportunities,” Al-Sisi said.
During his speech, Al-Sisi called on businessmen to contribute to revitalising the economy in the coming period. He pledged the state will provide the “appropriate climate” for attracting investments.
Citing it as a main axis to develop the economy, Al-Sisi added that the government will work on supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which would eventually generate foreign currency.
Economics professor at Cairo University Aliaa El-Mahdy said businessmen might be cautious as the legislative climate is unstable. She added that “everyday a new legislative is issued which is totally unstable”.
Al-Sisi promised to develop the education, health and agriculture sectors “in a way that meets the expectations of the citizens”, but El-Mahdy said the president should have provided more specific details on these goals.
During his speech, Al-Sisi said that he would work to gradually stop exporting raw mining materials, and domestically manufacture them in order to increase the value added revenues.
According to Al-Sisi, the Suez Canal Development project and the Dabaa Nuclear Plant near Alexandria will be notable national projects for the coming period.
A government decision will be issued “soon” on the Dabaa Nuclear Plant to issue the Terms of References of the project in a public tender, said Ministry of Electricity’s advisor for nuclear station, Ibrahim El-Osery. He disclosed the news that Korea, China, Japan, Russia, France and USA are the applicant countries.
El-Oseryi explained that the plant will be compromised of two stations, one of them generating 1600MW of electricity, the other 900MW. The project is expected to be effective after 5 years.
After the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the government has adopted the Suez Canal Development project as part of its development plans. The project includes the construction of four new seaports in the three provinces surrounding the canal. There will also be a new industrial zone west of the Gulf of Suez, and a technology valley in Ismailia.
El-Mahdy commented that although the project will launch after four years, it might take 10 years for the project to work in its full capacity.
During his speech, Al-Sisi also revealed that the Development Corridor project will develop several sectors. The project, originally designed by Egyptian scientist Farouk El-Baz, proposes a superhighway west of the Nile from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Nasser. It is expected to create new opportunities in the agriculture, industrial, trade, new communities and tourism sectors.
Al-Sisi noted that his government will work on intensifying the use of solar energy, providing alternatives methods for generating electricity.
During his speech, Al-Sisi said he expects that Egypt is heading towards an era of industrial and agricultural development, both the base of the economic development.
He added that the government will issue legislation to develop the industrial sector through facilitating investors’ obtaining lands and issuing licenses to establish industrial projects.
He added that the state will support labour-intensive industries to address the unemployment issue.
Al-Sisi promised to develop the agricultural sector, providing more arable land and using scientific irrigation methods which he said would assist in doubling production.
Al-Sisi also promised to improve the conditions of the Egyptian farmers, address their problems, boost the availability of fertilisers for them and study the debts of small farmers for the Developing the Principal Bank for Development and Agriculture Credit (PBDAC).