File photo of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during a speech. (Handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi has stressed the importance of fighting corruption in the country, saying that he himself is ready to be held accountable in case of wrongdoing.
"We do not want to take a lot of time in fighting these diseases [corruption]. We should do this quickly; we have a lot of work to do," he said during the inauguration of a fish farm in the Egyptian city of Ismailia.
"Everyone should be held accountable; I am ready to be held accountable," he said.
The Egyptian President hailed the role played by the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), the regulatory body responsible for enforcing laws and regulations within state bodies.
"I want to thank [the ACA] during the difficult phase we are going through. When we said we will fight corruption, we were serious," said El-Sisi.
He commented specifically on the arrest on bribery charges of the head of the procurement department at the State Council on Tuesday, saying, "I hope that the case tackled by the media in the past couple of days will be taken as a public-opinion issue to counter corruption and not to insult anyone."
The president added that regulatory bodies cannot fight corruption alone, but officials should "join hand in hand" to help them.
"As an official, if I am to inquire into small or big issues, the likelihood of any violations decreases. As an official, you should ask; the official is responsible for curbing any violations."
President El-Sisi inaugurated a fish farm in Ismailia on Wednesday with a total of 4,000 pools, saying that the government had never launched any projects of this type, which represent a fresh departure.
Mohamed Arfan, head of the ACA, said, "The Ismailia governorate fish farm is the largest in the world."
The first phase of the three-phase project includes 1,029 pools, of which 600 are harvested with different types of fish, Arfan explained.
He said the proeject aims to reduce the gap between the production and consumption of fish, which is estimated at 700,000 tonnes.
El-Sisi said that the project is one of three fish-farm projects; the other two are in East Port Said and Kafr El-Sheikh, and are due to be finished by the end of 2017.
He also launched the Al-Nasr floating bridge in the Suez Canal Zone, linking the two cities of Port Said and Port Fouad. At 420 metres long, the bridge consists of six pontoons.
In his speech, the president also called on the Egyptian people to stand by the country over the next six months as it deals with its economic difficulties and makes reforms.
In early November, Egypt's central bank decided to freely float the pound and raise key interest rates as part of a set of reforms aimed at alleviating a dollar shortage and stabilising the country's struggling economy.
"I will not say that only to the government but to Egyptian citizens, businessmen and investors. Stand by your country, only for six months, and you will find things better," El-Sisi said.
He added that the Egyptian people passed the "test", referring to the current economic measures, which have put extra pressure the poor.
"The current economic measures are quite hard and their impact is quite difficult... Egyptian people are capable and aware enough to differentiate between good measures and bad measures," he said.
However, El-Sisi said that many measures are being taken to limit their impact, and he called on the government to work harder to control consumer inflation.