DPA El-Gouna, Egypt
An Egyptian business tycoon has criticised the country’s government and military over interference in the economy and for not giving sufficient opportunities to the private sector.
“We need to reduce the government’s interference in business and we need to encourage the private sector.
We still have a lot of problems,” Naguib Sawiris, who has businesses in construction and telecommunications, told DPA.
The Egyptian Ministry of Housing is planning projects in co-operation with the army, he said. “There are private construction companies for them [these projects]!”
The Egyptian army is involved in major economic projects, including the construction of a new capital in eastern Cairo and new houses, bridges and roads across the country.
The military’s share of the economy as a whole is estimated at up to 50%, but President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has always spoken of only a few percent.
However, Sawiris praised some recent economic measures, including the flotation of the Egyptian pound, which helped stabilise the currency.
In recent years, the government of al-Sissi has introduced austerity measures linked to a $12bn bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The measures, which included the flotation of the currency and raising taxes, have left many Egyptians struggling to make ends meet, as Egyptians have long relied on state subsidies for basic products.
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