By Mohammad Ayyad
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has reinstated Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb after officials had submitted their resignation Monday. The government will remain in power until parliamentary elections are over, according to Mehleb.
Mehleb, in statements to journalists in the cabinet headquarters following a meeting with the president, said: “The formation of the government will be announced in mere hours and this will include the ranks of services and economics. The features of these groups’ work will be derived from the president’s platform.”
Mehleb called for the media to avoid speculation and expectations, as the current interviews are a part of doing business, and a meeting will be held Monday regarding the bread system to follow up on the programme’s implementation in the rest of the provinces.
“Some of the groups working on the economy will be divided to form separate investment, trade, and industry groups. This will be independent from the establishment of a sovereign fund for the public business sector or the fund’s conversion to a ministry chaired by one of the heads of holding companies. It is also expected that the ministry will separate Planning from State Coordination while retaining the ministers of the economic group as they are,” said a government source.
A source in Field Marshal Al-Sisi’s presidential campaign said arrangements were leaning toward replacing Mehleb with Dr Hani Sarie El-Din, who had served as an economic official in the campaign. However, the source said, Mehleb’s “quick action on the Egyptian streets and with the people strengthened his position in Sisi’s eyes”, leading to Sarie El-Din’s exclusion from the government.
Sisi and his government anticipate economic troubles, including increased inflation rates and unemployment, and the government now expects the economy to grow by just 2.5% for the current fiscal year which ends on 30 June. However, the acceleration of population growth destroys any improvements economic growth.
“The government has worked through difficult conditions and amidst alarming factional demands. We have worked to calm down these groups and absorb the waves of anger, to restore production in many factories and bodies, and to provide basic services to citizens. We have completed some tasks and are moving forward with the majority of the remaining tasks,” read the text of the resignation, which was submitted by the prime minister to the president.
Mehleb added in his written resignation: “I submit my resignation from the government in order to make way for the president to choose who he views fit to serve the nation and carry out the duties of the next phase.”
“Sisi’s retaining the Mehleb government comes in the framework of addressing issues such as the general budget which thus far has not been approved, as well as the draft bourse tax and the complete restructuring of energy subsidies, for which an official decision has not yet been made for fear of the wrath of the street due to anticipated price increases associated with a rise in diesel fuel and gasoline rates,” said the campaign source.
“This process may include a cabinet reshuffle in health, education, media, and the environment,” the source added.
Egypt’s economy continues to suffer from investment outflows and a sharp drop in tourism due to political unrest in the country since the 25 Janaury Revolution in 2011.