The fate of ministry of investment is in the hands of Rachid

Marwa Hussein, Wednesday 15 Dec 2010

Many predict that the ministry of investment will be divided into three entities

To be or not to be, Rachid will decide on the ministry of investment. (Photo Reuters)

The minister of trade and industry, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who is temporarily also overseeing the ministry of investment, has been assigned by the prime minister to assess the current structure of the ministry of investment, according to Beltone Financials.

This assessment will be conducted in the coming period, and based on its findings it will be decided whether or not any changes will be made to the ministry's structure.

The study is also expected to determine the future of entities that are affiliated with the ministry, Beltone added, without providing additional details.

In a statement to Al Masry Al Youm earlier this week, Rachid said he was only overseeing the functions of the six-years-old ministry, and would not make any decisions regarding merging or reducing the number of public sector companies until a new minister is appointed.

Once a new minister is in place, he or she will do what is deemed necessary and in the interest of the ministry’s goals. The number of public sector companies may be reduced from 150 to 40, Rachid added. He explained he was in favor of the reduction but insisted that he would not be the one making that decision.

Questions about the future of the ministry have been raised since the departure of ex-minister Mahmoud Moheddine, the first minister of investment who left in October 2010 to work as a general manager in the World Bank.

Created in 2004, the ministry grouped all public sector enterprises along with the once-independent General Authority for Investment. The ministry also took on responsibility for the non-banking financial service industry and regulation, which were consolidated into a single entity in 2009, under the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

The new body supervises all non-banking financial transactions and markets, including capital markets, derivative markets on financial assets and commodities, insurance contracts and services, mortgage finance, financial leasing, factoring and securitization.

People close to the decision makers' circle estimate that each of these sectors will be separated again and that the ministry of investment will be split into three bodies.

One of these bodies would be created by a law that is currently being drafted. It would group all public sector assets under one umbrella, as a sort of sovereign wealth fund run by professional investment bankers.

EFSA and GAFI will also become independent bodies.

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