Egypt's finance minister defends renationalisation as rule of law

Ahram Online, Thursday 6 Oct 2011

Hazem El-Beblawi says Egyptian society is not against the private sector but is angered by the corruption and lack of transparency under which business operated in the Mubarak era

Workers attending an event celebrating the re-nationalization of the three companies (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's finance minister yet again underlined his country's commitment to the market economy during a meeting with the Italian Ambassador in Cairo on Wednesday.

The experiences of other countries indicates that Egypt should keep persuing a market economy, said Hazem El-Beblawi, who also serves as Egypt's deputy prime minister.

He added that capitalism leads governments to support the rights of ownership, rule of law and judicial sovereignty, all of which are reflected in the current government's efforts.

Beblawi said that Egyptian society is not opposed to the work of the private sector, but had justifiable suspicion towards the lack of transparency and corruption that characterised the country's previous regime.

The government will take all the necessary steps to clarify the positions of privatised companies and protect well-intentioned investors that were party to corruption, he said.

In September, Egypt's administrative court suspended the privatisation contracts of three ‎formerly state-owned companies and returned them to public ownership.

The court said that though sales to private owners was necessary due to the conditions placed on Egypt by international institutions in order to secure loans, post-uprising reviews of privatisation procedures of the Mubarak era had raised questions over corruption, conflict of interests and a lack of transparency.

The court's decision also cleared the companies of all debts and mortgages resulting from their privatisation.

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