Corruption and bureaucracy are two main issues that have plagued state bodies over the past three decades.
When President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power, he vowed to fight these two problems. He announced a national plan under former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s government called the “National Plan for Fighting Corruption” that was promised to crackdown on corruption practices.
The plan pointed to bureaucracy as a source of corruption in every institution.
Al-Sisi declared in his latest interview that this plan succeeded in fighting corruption and the state earned EGP 300bn as a result of these actions.
The Business Anti-Corruption Portal (BACP), a source referred to by the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Transparency International, refers to the Egyptian corruption situation as a problem.
In a report issued in March, the BACP mentions corruption as an obstacle for businesses in Egypt. The report lists bribery, embezzlement, extortion, and tampering with official documents among the forms of corruption encountered.
It added that a culture of nepotism and favouritism has tainted Egypt’s economy and its investment climate. Baksheesh, literally meaning bribery, is part of Egyptians’ everyday lives. Poor legal frameworks and a widespread culture of corruption leaves businesses reliant on strong connections and the use of middlemen, known as wasta, to operate, giving well-connected businesses privileged treatment.
“Egypt’s Penal Code criminalises several forms of corruption such as active and passive bribery and abuse of office, but existing legislation is unevenly enforced, leading government officials to act with impunity. Facilitation payments and gifts are an established part of “getting things done”, despite the criminalisation of these practices under Egyptian law, the report explained.
This leads to the realisation that corruption and bureaucracy are serious obstacles confronting all attempts to achieve true reform in all state bodies.
“Corruption and bureaucracy still control the situation in all state bodies, despite real efforts that the government takes to fight it,” Ghada Mousa, an expert in corruption issues and member of the National Committee Against Corruption, told Daily News Egypt,
“These two main obstacles cost the state and the general budget a lot, so it is the time for the decision makers to think about what is called a ‘risk map’”, Ghada added.
A risk map is a method that has been applied in many developed countries to fight corruption, and it could help Egypt to take advantage of its economic sources and entities, according to Ghada.
“Corruption and bureaucracy have cost Egypt EGP 900bn over the past decade, according to reports issued by a number of international institutions,” said Abdel Moneim El-Saied, head of the Cairo Center for Economic Studies.
Tax evasion, bribery, and money laundering prevent the true extent of corruption from being counted or measured. One must therefore rely on reports issued by international institution to evaluate the situation, according to El-Saied.