Egypt's Sisi says door is open for private sector to partner with state in national projects

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Dec 2019

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has said that his government is willing to partner with the private sector in all national projects carried out by the government and the Armed Forces.

"In all the projects were are inaugurating... if the private sector would like to take part, it can," El-Sisi said at a ceremony to inaugurate livestock production projects in Fayoum, southwest of Cairo.

The president said the projects assigned to the military are not aimed at broadening "economic acquisition," but rather "creating job opportunities, resolving issues and achieving balance" in the market.

The livestock production complex inaugurated in Fayoum on Wednesday was carried out by the army's National Service Projects Organisation.

El-Sisi has addressed the topic of the army's perceived influence in the economy several times before. Last year, the president said that the military's economic activity made up only around 2-3 percent of the country's gross domestic products, dismissing speculation that the Armed Forces control as much as half of the economy.

El-Sisi confirmed that companies owned by the military will sell their shares on the stock exchange, alongside other state companies due to be brought to market for partial privatisation.

"Armed Forces companies will be listed on the stock exchange, and this way we would offer the opportunity not only to the private sector but to all citizens," El-Sisi told the inauguration gathering.

El-Sisi first announced the move last month, when he called for offering military companies in the stock market at a similar ceremony. Last year, the government said it planned to sell minority stakes in 23 state-owned companies as part of a scheme to raise up to EGP 80 billion ($4.99 billion), but the plan has been repeatedly delayed.

El-Sisi also touched on the mismanagement of state facilities and the misappropriation of funds, saying poor management practices have always been a major challenge to the development of the public sector.

"The problem is not about construction, the problem in our country is the management," El-Sisi said, adding that the current culture of poor management and performance will take a long time to be improved.

He cited an example that when the private sector carries out a similar project half the size of the complex opened Wednesday, it flourishes and expands, while "[facilities] we manage are eroding year after year."

El-Sisi was responding to a plan presented by Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Quseir to upgrade 52 inactive livestock production farms which the ministry seeks to develop and raise their efficiency. 

The ceremony also saw El-Sisi open four other livestock production complexes in Nubariya district, Beheira governorate, via video conference.

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