• Reports
  • January 20, 2007
  • 8 minutes read

Crackdown on MB Businesses Will Hurt Economy, Experts Warn

An internal study conducted by Egypt’s Stock Exchange Authority warned that the latest security escalation against Muslim Brotherhood businessmen will hurt the national economy and sends negative signals to foreign investors abroad.

The study said that the increasing number of detentions against MB businessmen and investors will hurt the Egyptian economy, specially that many of them are partners in joint ventures with Arab and foreign businessmen .

Dr. Ayman Rajab, a stock exchange expert, commented on the study warning that the random detentions against Islamic businessmen will only paralyze the Egyptian economy and may lead to a disastrous relapse in the performance of the Egyptian stock exchange, something that it may not recover from in the short run.

He expected that these wrong security policies against the Muslim Brotherhood, specially its businessmen, will lead to more moneys smuggling outside the country; he noted that the last months witnessed in which the crackdowns took place, more than 3.6 billion dollars have been smuggled outside Egypt because of lacking trust in the country’s economic policies.

The economist warned that smuggling all these sums of money contributed to a disastrous buyout on the part of the Egyptian and Arab investors, eventually leading to the collapse of the Egyptian stock performance.

The latest crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood included a group of businessmen topped by: Eng. Mohamed Khayrat Al Shater, and the latest was eng. Medhat Al-Haddad, board director of Arabiya for Construction Co., Osama Abdul Mohsen Sharaby, the board director of Egilica Tourism Co., and Dr. Abdul Rahman Soudi, the board director of Urban Development Co.

Also, political researchers and economists criticized the successive security crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders and figures, and the state’s inclination to arresting iconic businessmen and shutting down their companies which are prominent in the Egyptian economic life.

They confirmed that what is happening hurts the Egyptian reputation and sheds doubts on the ruling regime’s plans for holding real economic or political reforms, pointing out that what is happening gives a death blow to human rights.

Dr. Diaa Rashwan, an expert in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies confirms that shutting down companies isn’t new but it hasn’t been against many companies, explaining since attacking Salsabeal company, it was well known that the regime is targeting the MB economic body in order to hurt its funding sources. Nevertheless, this crackdown lacked a political wisdom and intelligence because it stupidly endangered the country’s overall economy and frightens the foreign investment that considers the economic climate not promising and presaging unjustified attacks against successful institutions, especially that a number of detainees are partners in joint ventures with some foreign investors. Therefore, the regime slipped unknowingly into a big problem because when it attacks the MB interests, it is actually giving a death blow to all the state’s interests.

Dr. Amr Al Shobaki, an expert in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, doesn’t believe that the latest crackdown against a number of businessmen is due to the MB chairman’s declaration of the group’s plans for establishing a political party; he said that the latest crackdown is an extension of the same logic that masterminded the one against Eng. Khayrat Al Shater, the MB deputy chairman.

He said this crackdowns, that began with arresting Khayrat Al-Shater, isn’t linked with declaring plans for a political party, but it is an independent course that targets blockading the Muslim Brotherhood economic capabilities.

Al Shobaki signals the seriousness of the ruling regime’s actions  that mixes between the political stance and the economic activities carried out by a number of the group’s members because what is happening is a legal mix-up as the regime is accusing these individuals of financial, political and legal violations, while there is no proof on this on the ground; what the regime is doing is mixing between their commercial activities and their political stances, a flagrant violation to the Egyptian constitution.

Al Shobaki hints at the paradox in the field of money and trade in Egypt which is full of countless cases corruption and violations; the regime gives a blind eye to these cases of corruption and punishes investors- whose files are clean- for their political affiliations.

Mohamed Al Sayed Said, a researcher in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies, describes the latest detentions against the Muslim Brotherhood as an exaggerated reaction for a very trivial incident that the group apologized for. What is wrong is prolonging a reaction that affects every political reform.

Though he is politically at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, he confirms that the government’s reaction against the group is whimsical and won’t lead to a real political reform, but it will lead to a retreat in reforms.

Said points out that the Muslim Brotherhood must be given a political recognition as a political group that has a huge presence in the Egyptian street; if some of them were arrested and accused of whimsical charges like financing an outlawed group, this will eventually affect the human rights exercises and the political life in general. He confirms that the government should have allowed them to establish a political party and they will accordingly be by ruled by regulation and laws, like other political opposition group.

The government can, through their establishing a party, monitor their funding. This will be better than considering them an outlawed group and arresting scientists and academic professors in various fields on charge of belong to an outlawed; Said demanded the government to give the Muslim Brotherhood its political rights, allow them to establish a civil party, and to stop arresting its members.

Dr. Mohamed Abu Al-Ghar, the founder of 9th March Movement for the independence of universities, thinks that detaining a number of respected businessmen reflects an increasing more suppression for freedoms, and an attempt at intimidating all opponents and also those who are silent to be more committed to their silence!!!

Dr. Abu Al-Ghar pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is a group that has a legitimacy and popularity not enjoyed by the regime. He said that if the regime wants to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, this should be through an ideology against and ideology, but the regime discovered that the regime is a real strengths, and that it is a real threat to it; therefore, it decided to focus on it, a proof that this regime is politically bankrupt, is collapsing and that it seeks to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Attacking MB companies is an act of repression persecution ahead of the constitutional amendments, he said, pointing out that the MB investors who gain their money from legitimate sources are better than others who are wasting our money abroad. He demanded the regime to arrest the businessmen who fled the country and are living abroad, not businessmen who are investing their money at home and support our domestic economy.

Saad Al Husseini, a member in the People’s Assembly, says the regime thinks it can crush the bones of the existing political powers ( the Muslim Brotherhood group) through these detentions that included the group’s members businessmen, and shutting down many of their companies, thinking that these companies are funding the group, which is totally groundless. He confirmed that the government tries to distort the image of the Muslim Brotherhood specially under the group’s huge popularity.

Regarding the economic aspect, Al Husseini explained that the more the executive authority tightens its grip on the course of events through applying exceptional laws and measures, the more we witness a negative impact on investments which confirms that the society is not stable on the security level. He denounced the statements that the Muslim Brotherhood is to blame for the retreat or escape of foreign investment from Egypt!!

“Was the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for Egypt’s retreat and decline to No 161 on international ratings regarding foreign investments”, Al Husseini wondered, confirming that the Egyptian regime’s actions are the ones that drive investments and investors out of the country. He points out that the more the investment environment becomes bad and unsuitable, the more the rate of unemployment and inflation increase, expecting that these detentions and shutting down of companies won’t affect the MB economic aspect; this because these companies aren’t funding the group; they are companies which are owned by members of the group and that the group is actually funded by all its members who are mostly belonging to the lower classes.