Egypt is not in urgent need of the $4.8bn International Monetary Fund loan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El-Din said, according to the official state-run news agency MENA. He added that the government possessed enough available resources to successfully implement its economic program, reiterating what was announced several days prior.
He added that the country’s minimum and maximum wage laws will be presented before the National Council for Wages on Tuesday, and Egypt’s cabinet on Wednesday.
Bahaa El-Din also stated that the country’s national school nutrition program, which is a part of Egypt’s broader economic initiative, would target those regions and villages most in need of assistance. Implementation of the program will occur via cooperation between the Ministries of Agriculture and Education, in addition to a number of civil society organizations, with oversight provided by the Ministry of Health.
In a workshop hosted on Sunday evening regarding the country’s national nutrition program, Bahaa El-Din stated that the program would help students focus during class, adding that all participants in the program were volunteers and possessed a genuine desire to effect change.
Health and Nutrition Specialist, Habiba Wasif, stated that the goal of the program would be to rebuild Egypt’s human potential, represented via the nation’s children. She added that the value of Egypt’s human potential has largely been neglected in past years due to the country’s economic and political turmoil, which has overshadowed efforts aimed at childhood development.
A representative from the program stated that a comprehensive nutrition strategy needed to be developed before meals could be presented to students and the program implemented.
During the workshop, a representative from the Egyptian Food Bank discussed and reviewed previous experiences of providing students with meals in provinces throughout Upper Egypt.
He stated that the Bank adhered to specific standards when guaranteeing the quality of food, much of which is produced in private factories specializing in producing food products that are easy to store.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade and the Minister of Agriculture stated that they were prepared to help contribute to the nutrition program in any way possible.
Bahaa El-Din further discussed his desire to see the country’s prolonged state of curfew come to an end. He stated that the imposition of such curfews, particularly during the morning hours, prevents workers from being able to arrive on time to factories, which reduces production rates and, in turn, affects the country’s economic development. He added that the right to peaceful protest should be guaranteed for all.
With regards to foreign investment, he stated that low rates seen over the last three years were tied to persistent lapses in security and political turmoil that are prevalent throughout the country. Achieving investment growth rates near to those witnessed before the revolution would take time, he said.
Achieving higher rates of foreign investment would require rebuilding confidence with businessmen, stating that, “investors need to be sure that if they put their money into a certain venture that they will be able to one day retrieve it.” Creating an appropriate economic climate to encourage such steps to be taken would be the first task in helping to achieve higher rates of investment growth.