Preview: Pacheco to make second Zamalek debut against Masry    Study: Neanderthal genes may be liability for COVID patients    Here's the reality behind Trump's claims about mail voting    Egypt parliament to convene on Thursday for sixth legislative season    Sharp virus spread in Madrid leads to new anti-outbreak plan    Egypt's Sisi congratulates Kuwait's new emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah    Premier League to pay for EFL clubs' coronavirus tests: Times    Tokyo Olympics name Mikako Kotani as new sports director    Indian court acquits all accused in razing of Babri mosque    Pioneer of industry    Talking about Tress    Mostafa Rizq gives a concert at El-Sawy Culturewheel    Books    ‪The European art in the heart of Cairo ‬    Nile blessings in disguise    Why is Nasser still popular?    The facts about Mostorod    Editorial: Time to rebuild    Egyptian insurance companies' premiums 9.6% up in five months    Egypt's President Sisi names new head of anti-corruption watchdog    Egypt's c.bank offers 18 bln pounds T-bills on Sunday    EgyptAir offering discounts for some international flights    Egypt records 212 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Saturday    Egypt to require PCR coronavirus tests for airport travelers    Egypt sends 125 tonnes of glass by sea to Beirut    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    Global smartphone sales drop 20% in Q2, yet Apple's iPhone sales steady    Sisi: Egypt keen on establishing development projects with Iraq, Jordan    Egyptian megastar Amr Diab releases new hit music video    Making of Harry Potter will be available for fans at new park in Tokyo    Egypt's Senate elections official results to be announced Wednesday    Netflix Egypt is bringing megastar Amr Diab back with a new original    Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing for first time since April    Egypt's senate elections 2020 trending on social media in few days    African Champions League final will be played on Oct. 16-17, CAF says    No room to delay Egyptian Premier League games – EFA's board member    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





MPs vent their anger at government
Published in Ahram Online on 16 - 10 - 2019

MPs this week continued debating Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli's policy statement, delivered before parliament on 8 October. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said an ad hoc parliamentary committee headed by Deputy Speaker Al-Sayed Al-Sherif had been formed to review the policy statement, fuelling speculation that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent.
The debates suggest that MPs, who had previously appeared keen to tow the government line, now feel they have a green light to hammer the government with scathing criticism.
Abdel-Hadi Al-Qasabi, head of the majority Support Egypt coalition of MPs, said that when parliament was asked to endorse the government's economic reform programme with the IMF in 2016 it had done so out of a sense of national duty, but only after stipulating “the government take all the measures necessary to protect the poor.
“It is now clear the government has not done nearly enough to improve health services, protect the most vulnerable families and rein in inflation.”
Al-Qasabi also complained the legislation is regularly presented to parliament at the 11th hour, and the majority of cabinet ministers ignore parliamentary meetings and refuse to answer MPs' questions.
The cabinet spokesperson issued a statement on 10 October saying Madbouli had ordered cabinet ministers to attend parliament in person to answer questions and discuss laws related to their portfolios.
Atef Nasr, spokesperson of the Future of Homeland Party, criticised Madbouli's government for its treatment of public employees.
“The government boasts that it has raised its employees' minimum monthly salary from LE1,300 to LE2,000,” said Nasr. “How can it think LE2,000 is enough when people now face monthly electricity bills of LE500, and water bills of the same amount.”
According to Nasr, the burden of austerity engendered by economic reform has fallen heaviest on the shoulders of those least able to cope.
“The government should do everything possible to improve their lives,” he said.
Independent MP Emad Mahrous focused his criticisms on Minister of Supply Ali Moselhi.
“Moselhi claimed in a TV interview that no citizens had been stripped of their ration cards,” said Mahrous. “Yet around two million names have been removed from the list of people eligible for subsidies.
“Moselhi should be dismissed immediately. Cabinet ministers are appointed to serve citizens, not provoke them.”
The minister of social solidarity should also be fired after she decided to strip poor families of the Takaful [Solidarity] and Karama [Dignity] cash subsidies.”
MP and businessman Karim Salem said the government's success on the macroeconomic level had yet to trickle down to the majority of people.
“Yes, the budget deficit, foreign debt and economic growth figures are impressive but they are meaningless unless they translate into tangible improvements in people's daily lives.”
MP Mustafa Bakri said families on average incomes have been crushed under the wheels of economic reform which have left “millions struggling to meet their daily needs”.
He also blamed the government for “heavy-handed censorship of the media”.
“More freedom of speech is needed in order to withstand the hostile media campaigns that are fomented abroad,” said Bakri. “Without greater freedoms, and lasting social reforms, we could well end up on the road to another 25 January.”
Leftist MPs Abdel-Hamid Kamal and Talaat Khalil accused the government of arbitrarily detaining political activists during the protests that were held two weeks ago.
Kamal claimed security forces had arrested many people in Suez city, and that families of those detained had been unable to discover their whereabouts.
“These are political prisoners,” said Khalil, “and they are being denied due process.”
Speaker Abdel-Aal argued that no one who joined the protests can be described as a political detainee.
“Let me send a clear message to local and foreign circles. There are no political detainees in Egypt,” said Abdel-Aal. “Anyone arrested two weeks ago will be released if investigations show they were not involved in illegal activities.”
Madbouli insisted “the most difficult decision any government can take is to implement an IMF-drafted economic reform programme.”
He argued that the reforms would have been far less painful had they been taken earlier, but that was something that successive governments had balked at.
“When we came to office it was clear that the difficult decision could no longer be deferred. Economic reform was the only way for the country to move ahead.”
Madbouli pointed out that the pound has gained 10 per cent against the dollar in the last 12 months and social protection programmes had lifted millions out of poverty.
“We have upped allocations to the Takaful and Karama programmes from LE6.6 billion to LE18 billion. Millions of Egyptian families have been treated for Hepatitis C free of charge, and 67 million citizens have access to subsidised bread.”
Madbouli added that budgetary allocations for ration and subsidy cards had increased from LE35 billion in 2014 to LE89 billion in 2019.
“However high the costs of reforms, they were necessary. We need to ensure that the next generation can live in stability, and that Egypt can move forward on a sound fiscal footing.”

*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.


Clic here to read the story from its source.