File Photo: Egypt s Senate. Al-Ahram.
The Senate's proposal came at the end of a two-week discussion of a study prepared by Senator Soheir Abdel-Sallam on the problem of overpopulation in Egypt and what measures are necessary to contain it.
Senate Speaker Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek said a report on Senator Soheir Abdel-Sallam's study will be referred to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, including several recommendations for the problem of overpopulation.
"In this report, prepared by the Senate's committees on health, population, human rights and social solidarity, we recommend that an independent entity by the name of "The National Authority for Population and Family Planning" be established to replace the existing National Population Council which was created in 1985," said Abdel-Razek, adding that "the new independent authority will be granted adequate powers in order to be able to take serious and collective action in the area of tackling overpopulation."
"This authority will be affiliated with the presidency – rather than with the Ministry of Health and Population – and with the president of the republic named as its chairman, the prime minister as deputy chairman and all concerned cabinet ministers and public figures with expertise in the area of population policies as members of the authority's council of trustees," said the report.
Minister of Wakfs (religious endowments) Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa told the Senate that there is a pressing need for more serious action on checking population growth in Egypt. "In this respect let me indicate that mosques affiliated with the Ministry of Wakfs will use doctors to raise awareness of the issue of overpopulation, birth control and the family planning," said Gomaa, adding that "Egypt is increasing by two million or two million and half every year and this is too much and a big burden for a country struggling to offer high-quality services to its citizens."
Senator Soheir Abdel-Sallam's study – which the Senate began discussing on 28 March – warns that Egypt’s population will reach 128 million by the year 2030 and 183 million by the year 2050.
“This runaway growth of population poses a serious threat to the country’s future, economic development, and national security,” said the study, asking that “the role of the National Population Council be restructured and replaced by an independent and more powerful entity by the name of the National Authority for Population and Family Planning, in addition to the fact that new and urgent measures that can reduce population growth to just 110 million by 2030 should be adopted.”
"Egypt's 2030 vision on sustainable development seeks to control population in Egypt to stand at 110 million at that year," said the study.
The study said all workers currently affiliated with the National Population Council and other concerned ministries which cover population issues shall join the new authority under one umbrella to maximise the benefit from their performance and experience.
The study also argued that population growth in Egypt had significantly slowed down in the 1990s when the National Population Council was affiliated with the presidency, but it began to increase rapidly after the year 2000 when the council was affiliated with the Ministry of Health.
"So we recommend that the new National Council for Population and Family Planning be affiliated with the presidency to be able to achieve the serious objective of controlling population growth in Egypt," said the study.