VERY few are the medicines which do not taste bitter and they are the ones necessary for a body to recover from ailment.
The pain which came with recent economic measures adopted by Egypt’s government are overdue remedial steps, given that it would have been more suitable if such steps were taken immediately after the restoration of rule from hijackers — the Muslim Brotherhood. As such, the political recuperation process would have happened simultaneously with the economic recovery and restoration of international confidence on Egypt.
Decision of Egypt’s Central Bank to float the Egyptian currency, devaluing it against the US dollar, is the first of many steps towards reinvigorating investment movement in the country and to increase the volume of exports. This means revival of industries which were ‘murdered’ by nationalization decisions taken during Abdul Nasser’s era.
In addition, these measures will also revive agriculture and repair what was damaged by the agriculture reform law. The late Anwar Al-Saddat and Hosni Mubarak did not implement this law for fear that it would cause radical transformation of the society.
If the era of the late president Al-Saddat and his successor, president Hosni Mubarak, was known as the period of economic recuperation, the steps taken by President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi and his government will help in removing Egypt from the cycle of wastage to move towards betterment of performance in order to return to the proper path of development.
Undoubtedly, this development will not be complete without enacting modern laws that encourage investment and provide facilities for foreign investors. This development is an interpretation of the outcome of the Sherm el-Sheikh Economic Summit which will create job opportunities for Egyptians.
In addition, these decisions will raise the credit rating of Egypt according to the World Bank which does not grant loans if its experts know that the money will go to waste or evaporate in subsidies and maintaining stability of the national currency.
Undoubtedly, the mission of the leader who strives to develop his country and his people is to work in line with the famous adage, “Don’t give me fish, but teach me how to fish.”
The concept of total dependence on the public sector under the pretext of ‘socialism’ has been proven a failure, let alone the fact that it encourages slackness in nationalized institutions up to the point of inactivity — thereby, transforming Egypt from being the source of imports to a destination for exports as it imports almost 75 percent of its needs.
Furthermore, the migration rate to villages in the agricultural area decreased, up to the point of collapse in self-sustenance system. All that el-Sisi’s government is doing today aims to end the era of distributing fish in order to teach Egyptians how to fish.
Generally, measures taken by the government are the objectives of every government which strives to end the malady that has been troubling communities as a result of wrong decisions taken in the past just to please a handful of beneficiaries at the expense of the majority in the nation.
Through the floatation of its currency and lifting fuel subsidy, Egypt will save about 60 million Egyptian pounds which will be used in solving several problems caused by the events in the last five years such as housing, salaries or to fix the most important things.
This comes although some people take advantage of the situation for political or personal gains, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and those affected by Egypt’s stability.
However, all these will not be effective unless the government thoroughly explains the benefits of such measures through a comprehensive public awareness campaign.
Egypt’s economy is the main pillar in Arab economies and remedying maladies means recovery for the Arab world as a whole. Partial decisions taken by President el-Sisi will put Egypt on the doorstep of a completely new era — different from what we have been accustomed to.
If previous hesitations on this matter were due to fear from negative reactions, the status quo compelled him to do what must be done.
With these radical decisions, we stand before a new historic leader who safeguards the ordinary citizens, not by words or slogans only, but by actions. This is the leadership that can combat anyone who wants to damage Egypt and shake international confidence on it. Therefore, if these necessary decisions seem harsh, one must keep in mind that they were taken to rectify and straighten the almost broken back of Egypt.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times