Egyptians called on to donate to 'Support Egypt' fund
Ahram Online, Sunday 7 Jul 2013
Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior and prominent individuals have already pledged millions of pounds to account 306/306, launched by satellite channel CBC

Egyptians eager to see the country move forward economically after Mohamed Morsi's ouster last week are pouring their efforts into a new donations fund, dubbed the "Support Egypt" Fund.

Announced on Egyptian satellite channel CBC on Friday by channel owner businessman Mohamed El-Amin, the initiative aims to gather LE10 billion in donations into account 306/306, all through local banks.

El-Amin, whom the deposed president had accused in his 26 June speech of using his channel to attack him politically while owing the state money, has since been banned from travel while under investigation for allegedly evading LE427 million in taxes.

Calls have been pouring into CBC's Khairi Ramadan's programme from individuals and institutions pledging donations to the fund, most notably a LE300 million pledge by the Armed Forces.

Judges Club head and prominent Morsi opponent Judge Ahmed El-Zend promised to donate LE25,000 and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced that the ministry would auction off distinctive car license plates and donate the proceeds to the fund.

The "Support Egypt" fund is the latest in a series of such initiatives since the revolution dealt the first blow to Egypt's economy two and a half years ago.

The first was account number 25/01/2011, opened by Minister of Finance Samir Radwan in March 2011, which reportedly gathered LE40 million in donations.

This was followed by a private initiative from influential Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan in February 2012 after US politicians threatened to cut the $1.3 billion annual US military aid to Egypt after the latter referred 43 civil society workers, among them Americans, to court on charges of violating NGO law.

Last November, former president Morsi called on Egyptians to donate to newly-opened account no. 333/333 at the Central Bank of Egypt, dubbed "Egypt's Renaissance," to support the country's struggling economy.

Egypt's budget deficit hit LE205 billion (roughly $29.2 billion) – representing 11.8 percent of GDP – in the first 11 months of the 2012/13 fiscal year, the finance ministry reported in June.

The country's total external debt reached $30.6 billion, or 14.9 percent of GDP in March 2013, according to the Central Bank.

Domestic debt totaled LE1.3 trillion in December 2012.