Egypt's public business sector to fall under industry ministry

Ahram Online, Wednesday 26 Feb 2014

Nine public holding companies and their subsidiaries to now fall under Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry

Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour the designate minister of trade and investment

Egypt's latest ministerial reshuffle will include a transformation of its economic bodies, officials told Ahram Online.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry will be divided; as foreign trade and investment will fall under one ministry, while the public business sector is to be managed by a new ministry of industry, rather than the ministry of Investment.

The shift means that Egypt's nine public holding companies and more than 140 subsidiaries will now fall under the management of the new industry minister, who has not yet been designated, after this week's cabinet reshuffle which saw 15 ministers resign.

According to state’s Al-Ahram news website on Thursday, the new designate Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has met with Khaled El-Ashmawy the assistant to the minister of investment to be nominated to handle the industry ministry.

Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, who served as minister of trade and industry in the last government of prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi, will now head the new trade and investment portfolio.

The modified position will entail overseeing the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI).

Osama Saleh will for his part leave his post as investment minister under the outgoing government, ministry sources confirmed to Ahram Online.

In 1991, Egypt announced that it would begin a privatisation programme with the ambitious aim to privatise all 314 public companies before the start of the third millennium.

Egypt's public business sector was previously under the public sector ministry until the creation of the investment ministry in 2004. The investment minister at the time, Mahmoud Mohieddin, launched an asset-management programme to activate the privatisation scheme.

In 2008, Moheiddin along with Gamal Mubarak, son of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and secretary of the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) policy committee, announced a proposal to adopt a “voucher privatisation” or “mass privatisation” programme, which was largely rejected at the time.

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