MP Saad Al-Husseini, Chairman of the People’s Assembly (PA) Plan and Budget Committee and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Secretary of Planning, said that the current growth rate reached 2% equivalent to 1/10 of the rate of growth in the Plan for 2011/2012, a negative indicator for the performance of the government in the economic crisis during the last four months.
He stressed that the FJP seeks for the next general budget to be aimed for social justice, through wage structuring, reduction of bonuses and allowances in the budget – to allow for a judicious review of the minimum and maximum wage limits, raising minimum pensions, extending social security coverage to all Egyptian citizens, and making permanent all temporary workers.
Husseini stressed that restructuring the general budget and amending its priorities may cover the budget deficit without resorting to borrowing. He pointed that there are alternatives to borrowing in the coming months through a long-term contract to export gas to a number of Asian countries such as Japan and China, and through Islamic finance instruments via partnership among investors for establishment of projects for public benefit funded by the Islamic system BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer).
He mentioned that reviewing the files of State land sold cheaply adds a new item to fund the budget through reconciliation with the businessmen involved, by reviewing and re-evaluating prices for the businessmen to pay the price differences, with the State agreeing to drop criminal charges in return.
Husseini stressed that the FJP is well aware of its duty. He said that Egypt is entitled to U.S. aid, both civil and military, because they are linked to the Camp David Accord, adding that changing these will make us review the agreement again.
Further, Husseini pointed out that Dr. Kamal Ganzouri will introduce his vision on the issue of borrowing to fix the general budget deficit, which peaked in the past four months, in the Committee’s session today.The Committee will pay special consideration to the IMF loan. Earlier, the Committee heard the Minister of Finance and Assistant Secretaries of Planning and International Cooperation, who refused to give the Committee any information on the 2012 plan and its features, stating that no details had been prepared as yet. The Committee pointed that a Visions of Planning conference will be held on March 28, before the period prescribed for presentation of the budget early next April.
The Chairman of the Plan and Budget Committee said, “We want to restructure wages through a set of procedures, the first of which is setting minimum and maximum wages. The maximum wage limit must be enforced as soon as possible. That will provide opportunities for making permanent temporary workers and employees, and also bring closer the upper and lower limits to staff of most of the State bodies and institutions.
Furthermore, Husseini underscored the need to review the provisions of pensions policy, setting a minimum pension limit to ensure a decent life for workers who spent their lives in the service of the homeland, and providing social security coverage for all state employees in both the public and private sectors.