CAIRO: Under criticism for the renewal of the Emergency Law, Gamal Mubarak stated that the renewal does not indicate a setback in the reform polices of the National Democratic Party (NDP) at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters yesterday.
“I disagree with those saying that reform has stopped, he says. “We are committed to reform.
Mubarak, who serves as the assistant secretary general of the NDP, explained that the anti-terrorism law slated to replace the Emergency Law needs constitutional changes before it is introduced. He added that the renewal of the state of emergency is conditioned to end as soon as the anti-terrorism law is ready or its two-year period expires. Mubarak says that the anti-terrorism law will not be a disguised repetition of the Emergency Law.
Since parliament approved the decades-long Emergency Laws earlier this week, the president has been accused of going back on the promises he made during the latest presidential campaign, with analysts saying the president’s electoral program is not being executed.
In response to such criticism, Gamal Mubarak responded by recapping the topics discussed during the meetings of the NDP’s high profile Policies Committee.
He pointed to the 6.1 percent economic growth in the first half of the current fiscal year (2005/2006). Inflation rates have dropped to 3.1 percent as opposed to almost 17.7 percent during the first half of the previous fiscal year, adding that direct foreign investment reached $3.3 billion as opposed to $1.1 billion during the same time last year.
Mubarak says the balance of the national budget reflects the executive policy of the party.
He also refers to the ongoing discussions and debates regarding legislative issues, mainly law articles regulating elections, adding that during the fourth meeting of the policies committee this year, held yesterday, several possible legislations were discussed including the prison sentence in publishing crimes.
The new tax law is one of the legislations that have proven successful, Mubarak says, while it was one of the laws that were initially criticized, he stresses. But now there is a noticeable increase in tax filing, reaching 40 percent. Total taxes collected so far are LE 3.2 billion.
He also points to the implementation of the promised increase in wages, especially in the health sector, and steps taken to reduce unemployment and the expected housing projects.
This, Mubarak explains, has happened within four months since the new government has been sworn in.
But the achievements Mubarak repeatedly listed in yesterday’s press conference didn’t overshadow what was described as dissatisfaction of the state of reform felt in the street. The use of violence against demonstrators and the postponement of municipal elections were cited.
“Try and put what’s going on in Egypt in proper context, he says, explaining that 2005 was a turning point in contemporary reform.
He says as the party is going on with its reform polices “we are destined to have critics, opposition and those who try to undermine some of the success that have been made, adding that some people take opportunity of mishaps as indicators of setbacks.
“There is serious reform going on, he says. “I’m absolutely convinced that we are on the right path. However, Mubarak says he is not satisfied with the current state of communicating the party’s policies to the public.