Egypt committed to the free market: Trade minister

Niveen Wahish, Thursday 27 Oct 2011

Mahmoud Eissa denies accusations the interim government lacks a co-ordinated message, saying debates are 'for the sake of Egypt'

Egypt's minister of trade and industry has reiterated the country's commitment to the free market in a an attempt to assuage investors' fears after a recent wave of renationalisations.

"When the government says it is not deviating from free market policies, it means it," Mahmoud Eissa told members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo on Thursday.
"No laws or decrees have been issued saying we [the government] are taking any other direction," he added.
Taking questions from Chamber members, Eissa denied accusations the government is lacking a co-ordinated message, saying that even if there are individual debates they are "for the sake of Egypt."
Eissa also defended the government response to September's administrative court decision which annulled the private sell-offs of three formerly state-owned companies.
"It hurts the government as well," he said of the court's decision, "[but] what the judge says is mandatory."
Eissa also confirmed government plans to trim its energy subsidies. He said that several ministries are working together to decide on exactly how will be reduced.
The first phase, he said, will target energy-intensive industries like steel, ceramics, fertilisers and cement. The government has earmarked LE95 billion for energy subsidies in its 2011/12 budget.
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