President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (C) during the second session of the three-day conference of ‘Tale of a Homeland’ on January 18, 2018 - Press photo
CAIRO - 19 January 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi used the opportunity of meeting with youth and representatives of all society spectrums last night at the ‘Tale of a Homeland’ conference to tackle past and current economic challenges on Thursday.
In the second session, titled “Economy and social justice”, al-Sisi said that he cannot deceive Egyptians or say make false statements. He explained that the goal of the conferences he has held in the past was to raise awareness of the public, as the authorities cannot overcome the challenges by themselves.
Al-Sisi said that the donations received by Egypt’s “Tahya Misr” (Long Live Egypt) Fund, which was launched in 2014 to overcome economic challenges, had not exceeded LE 7 billion ($395 million), while the target was LE 200 billion ($11.3 billion).
Regarding the provision of services and infrastructure nationwide, al-Sisi said that a state budget of $1 trillion was needed, in order to serve a population of 100 million citizens. al-Sisi explained that the current state budget ranged from LE 1 to LE 2 trillion ($56 - $113 billion) only, and that not all the money is already available.
President al-Sisi also revealed the challenge of educational reform, saying that to reform the educational system, serves 22 million people, LE 220 billion ($12.4 billion) is needed.
Regarding the increase of salaries, al-Sisi said that the state borrowed LE 150 ($8.4 million) to increase the salaries, as part of social justice demands. The salaries increase led to a parallel increase in the public debt.
“Simply, the LE 750 billion ($42.3 million) that we borrowed along [the past] five years, is going to make the state indebted by LE 1800 billion ($101.6 million) after five years,” al-Sisi stated. “We are talking about so many trillions that we are not going to be able to repay,” he added.
The president also said that Egypt did not have any debts until 1967. However, in 1970, Egypt had become indebted by trillions of dollars.
After July 6, 2013, a consultative study was conducted for six months on Egypt’s economy which, according to Sisi, revealed that the country is expected to face a deficit of $18 billion for five years.
During the session, al-Sisi lauded the brother countries’ donations to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and their efforts to supply the country with gasoline and solar tanks, throughout a year. “Without [their] support after July 2013, we would not have survived in light of the terrorist attacks in Egypt,” al-Sisi said.
Egypt's security forces have been battling a violent Islamist-extremist insurgency in North Sinai, following the ousting of former President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi.
In the first session titled “Infrastructure and National Mega projects session,” al-Sisi asserted that the Egyptian government has steadily worked towards developing infrastructure in the last few years, underscoring the fact that diversifying energy resources is a key for sustainable development.
Not only Sisi talked about a number of major energy and network transportation project, but also addressed the Suez Industrial Zone and the Nuclear Power Plant in Dabba on the Mediterranean governorate of Marsa Matrouh.
During the first day of the conference, President Sisi said he deemed his time in office as a “rescue mission.”
He also said that what Egypt accomplished during the past years is the result of a dream that Egyptians insisted on bringing to reality.
“All the achievements and reforms that got carried out were because of all Egyptians,” President Sisi stressed during the ‘Tale of a Homeland’ conference.