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Egypt govt 'professional' and 'knowledgeable': Banking head

National Bank of Egypt chairman says he decided not to resign in mid-2011 after becoming convinced of the new government's business savvy

Marwa Hussein, Tuesday 9 Oct 2012
Amer
NBE head Tarek Amer (Photo: AFP)
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Egypt's immense political changes are positive and the country's new leaders professionals who respect financial expertise, the chairman of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has told Ahram Online.

Tarek Amer, who manages Egypt's largest bank with more than LE300 billion in assets, is one of Egypt's prime movers and shakers.
 
He says he was offered the opportuning of heading the economic team in Hisham Qandil's government, but was unable to reach an agreement on duties with the Prime Minister and President.
 
"At first I thought it was better to resign my position after the new political changes that took place in Egypt," Amer said. 
 
"But I was offered a key official post which made me think that these people [the Muslim Brotherhood] want to work with experts and people who have knowledge.
 
"Now I have a better outlook than before," he added.
 
Amer, speaking to Ahram Online on the margins of the annual Euromoney conference which began Tuesday in Cairo, also praised Hussein El-Kazaz, President Morsi's advisor for economic affairs.  
 
"He is actually very good, organised and knowledgeable," he said.
 
The NBE chairman also commended the performance of Egyptian banks in the 20 months that have followed Egypt's January 2011, saying they have achieved an average 40 per cent growth in their income.
 
"This was achieved because banks are not afraid to work. NBE lent a total of $22 billion in the period after the uprising. We were not hesitant and realised profits," Amr said.
 
"That is what the government is doing now. It takes strong decisions -- that's what was needed and was missing before."
 
As for the complaints from private investors that banks are being reluctant to lend money, Amer said that Egypt does not face a problem in that area.
 
"The private sector lends around 80 per cent of its loan portfolio to the private sector," the banker explained.
 
"Liquidity is more available in Egypt than in Europe. We told the Turks during our last visit that Egyptians have enough financing to invest abroad."
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