The Egyptian parliament’s budgetary and planning committee recommended that an ad hoc committee be formed to investigate the financial and administrative conditions of the country’s National Media Organisation, also known as the national Radio and Television Union (Maspero).
“The committee should be formed within two months in order to move quickly to stem the tide of the National Media Organisation’s debts which have ballooned to 42 billion, mostly owed to the National Investment Bank,” said the committee’s deputy chairman Mostafa Salem.
“The ad hoc committee which is recommended be formed by the cabinet should include experts who can settle the organisation in terms of privatising assets and rationalising spending,” said Salem, adding that “the ad hoc committee submit parliament a report on the results of its investigation after two months.”
Salem indicated that the National Media Organisation’s debts in one year – 2018 –reached EGP 6.2 billion, thus pushing the total debt to EGP 42 billion.
“The organisation will continue to bleed as long as no reform moves are taken seriously,” said Salem, adding that “competition from the private media as well as the government showing no interest in reform left Maspero in the cold, bleeding all the time.”
Worse, Salem said, “in spite of losses, Maspero’s spending in 2018 increased to EGP 328 million and it was also allowed to take out EGP 82 million in a loan.”
“This will only worsen the problem, and so there should be a coordinated plan by the ministries of finance and planning to stop this deterioration,” said Salem.
The head of the National Media Organisation Hussein Zein said that “Maspero’s problems are historical and all officials are ready to reform conditions.”
“Reform of Maspero is a necessity as it is the official voice of Egypt and that it is the national media which can stand up to foreign hostile attacks and bring the country together around national goals,” he said.
“Maspero is also currently coordinating with the private “Egyptian Media” group to streamline performance and cut costs.”