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Deputy Speaker: Parliament will work to bridge social gaps

Zeinab Radwan, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, talks to Ahram Online on legislating for the future

Dina Ezzat, Saturday 25 Dec 2010
Zeinab Radwan
Photo: Sherif Sonbol
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This evening President Hosni Mubarak will address the annual conference of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which he chairs.
The speech, an NDP source told Ahram Online, is going to re-emphasize his key message – delivered in a speech before the combined houses of Parliament on 19 December, and this is that the pursuit of social justice and socio-economic development are key issues for the president, his party and the NDP dominated parliament.
"Reaching out to the economically unprivileged is a key issue on the agenda of President Mubarak and it is certainly a key matter for several legislations Parliament will be working on along with the government" during the next five years, said Zeinab Radwan, who was reelected a few days ago as Deputy Speaker of Parliament Speaker. She added that those legislations would be drafted with an eye on giving maximum support to the most needy and minimum support to the least in need: "It is the quality of justice that decides (aid and subsidy) on the basis of need," Radwan explained.

Speaking to Ahram Online at her office, even as the assembly had begun its deliberations, Radwan argued that by expanding the scope of the partially subsidized health care system for an additional 15 million Egyptians, generating new job opportunities "primarily through the private sector", and upgrading retirement allowances to the elderly, the state would have helped the economically unprivileged.
This, however, Radwan acknowledged, requires an upgrade of the national economy to provide enough resources for the social care programs. "This is precisely why the President is giving a great deal of attention to the upgrading of energy resources; it is through this that we can aim for much more efficient and much more productive industrial and agricultural schemes," Radwan argued.
The launch of the nuclear power plants, the efficient administration of all types of water resources and the best administration of the state-owned lands will be subject to considerable work by Parliament, she said. Parliament will issue new legislation towards these ends, she added.
The overall objective, argued Radwan, is to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in a sustainable manner, that moves beyond the subsidy hand-out to empowerment and development.
"We want to help people generate income and not just help them to cover their needs; we are going to invest in this," Radwan argued.
Meanwhile, Radwan said that the work of Parliament will be done with an eye on the specificities of the varied population blocks. "Take for example people who live in Matrouh and those who live in Sinai. They have some common development requirements, but obviously each group has its own specific agenda of priorities; our work is to issue the proper legislation that would serve each group," Radwan said.
As such Parliament is planning to consider the necessary legislation to get hotel owners in Matrouh to establish water sanitation units to end the current state of hotel dependence on public units, which ultimately undermines the rightful share of citizens to potable water subsidized by the government.
In Sinai, however, explained Radwan, Parliament will work on legislation that gives citizens the right to dig wells, in line with a clear set of regulations on the preservation of the reservoirs and maintain the cleanliness of the wells.
Another gap that Parliament wants to bridge, according to Radwan, is that between the quality of education and the kind of degrees offered by schools and universities, on the one hand, and the demands of the Labor market, on the other. For instance, in governorates where tourism and oil-related industries are the obvious job-creating businesses, there will be more attention to provide and improve the quality of relevant technical schools and university departments.
Radwan is particularly concerned with another issue, which President Mubarak has been bringing up regularly in his recent speeches, which is to maintain and improve relations between the nation's two religious communities: Muslim and Copts.
To serve this purpose, Radwan is not only talking about legislation, but also about the role of MPs in working with their local constituencies to immediately attend to any potential problems, as well as to promote the concept of tolerance and mutual respect among the Coptic and Islamic creeds. "This is enshrined in the constitution", she stresses.
Radwan herself, a professor of Islamic Shariaa by vocation, is planning to work on a scheme to help schools promote the concept of tolerance among children. For her, a schism between Copts and Muslims is a schism that Egyptian society cannot live with.

This evening President Hosni Mubarak will address the annual conference of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which he chairs.
The speech, an NDP source told Ahram Online, is going to re-emphasize his key message – delivered in a speech before the combined houses of Parliament on 19 December, and this is that the pursuit of social justice and socio-economic development are key issues for the president, his party and the NDP dominated parliament.
"Reaching out to the economically unprivileged is a key issue on the agenda of President Mubarak and it is certainly a key matter for several legislations Parliament will be working on along with the government" during the next five years, said Zeinab Radwan, who was reelected a few days ago as Deputy Speaker of Parliament Speaker. She added that those legislations would be drafted with an eye on giving maximum support to the most needy and minimum support to the least in need: "It is the quality of justice that decides (aid and subsidy) on the basis of need," Radwan explained.

Speaking to Ahram Online at her office, even as the assembly had begun its deliberations, Radwan argued that by expanding the scope of the partially subsidized health care system for an additional 15 million Egyptians, generating new job opportunities "primarily through the private sector", and upgrading retirement allowances to the elderly, the state would have helped the economically unprivileged.
This, however, Radwan acknowledged, requires an upgrade of the national economy to provide enough resources for the social care programs. "This is precisely why the President is giving a great deal of attention to the upgrading of energy resources; it is through this that we can aim for much more efficient and much more productive industrial and agricultural schemes," Radwan argued.
The launch of the nuclear power plants, the efficient administration of all types of water resources and the best administration of the state-owned lands will be subject to considerable work by Parliament, she said. Parliament will issue new legislation towards these ends, she added.
The overall objective, argued Radwan, is to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in a sustainable manner, that moves beyond the subsidy hand-out to empowerment and development.
"We want to help people generate income and not just help them to cover their needs; we are going to invest in this," Radwan argued.
Meanwhile, Radwan said that the work of Parliament will be done with an eye on the specificities of the varied population blocks. "Take for example people who live in Matrouh and those who live in Sinai. They have some common development requirements, but obviously each group has its own specific agenda of priorities; our work is to issue the proper legislation that would serve each group," Radwan said.
As such Parliament is planning to consider the necessary legislation to get hotel owners in Matrouh to establish water sanitation units to end the current state of hotel dependence on public units, which ultimately undermines the rightful share of citizens to potable water subsidized by the government.
In Sinai, however, explained Radwan, Parliament will work on legislation that gives citizens the right to dig wells, in line with a clear set of regulations on the preservation of the reservoirs and maintain the cleanliness of the wells.
Another gap that Parliament wants to bridge, according to Radwan, is that between the quality of education and the kind of degrees offered by schools and universities, on the one hand, and the demands of the Labor market, on the other. For instance, in governorates where tourism and oil-related industries are the obvious job-creating businesses, there will be more attention to provide and improve the quality of relevant technical schools and university departments.
Radwan is particularly concerned with another issue, which President Mubarak has been bringing up regularly in his recent speeches, which is to maintain and improve relations between the nation's two religious communities: Muslim and Copts.
To serve this purpose, Radwan is not only talking about legislation, but also about the role of MPs in working with their local constituencies to immediately attend to any potential problems, as well as to promote the concept of tolerance and mutual respect among the Coptic and Islamic creeds. "This is enshrined in the constitution", she stresses.
Radwan herself, a professor of Islamic Sharia by vocation, is planning to work on a scheme to help schools promote the concept of tolerance among children. For her, a schism between Copts and Muslims is a schism that Egyptian society cannot live with.

 

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