Lamees hard on the economic reforms; Legislative, judiciary beef grows
Lamees Al Hadidi play devil’s advocate last night in her coverage of the IMF and IMF’s World Economic Outlook and the World Bank’s Egypt Economic Outlook. She singled out one element of the reports that suggests a decline in consumer spending is a result of the high inflation and proceeded to grill her guests on what this means for the Ismail government’s economic reform drive.
First up was Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil, who responded by showcasing how exports have grown to USD 1.8 bn in February, up from USD 1.5 bn during the same month last year. The rise in exports, along with a USD 7 bn decline in imports, has helped decrease the trade deficit by USD 9 bn. Kabil also noted 42% growth in the industrial sector and noted that simplified licensing under the Industry Permits Act will help attract FDI (watch, runtime: 13:27).
Kabil’s interview moved the episode nicely on to exports. Next up, Arafa Holding Chairman Alaa Arafa reminded Lamees that the full fruits of the economic reform program will take to appear. He said improvements on the export front are already visible, but pointed out that (we’re paraphrasing here) it takes time to turn around an aircraft carrier (watch, runtime: 6:17).
The contrarian: Export Development Council member Magdy Tolba chimed in by saying that the export growth is still “minimal” considering the number of factories that closed or downsized after 2011 (watch, runtime: 4:22). Industries that rely on locally sourced components and raw materials will benefit the most from the export drive, said Sherif El Gabaly, head of the chemical industries division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce. He thinks chemical industries and fertilizers are among those that have the best export prospects (watch, runtime: 7:17).
Legislative branch won’t back down from fight with the judiciary: Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, head of the Cairo Criminal Court Abdel Emam reiterated that the House of Representatives’ amendments to the judicial codes granting the president the right to appoint the heads of judicial committees was unconstitutional (watch, runtime: 4:03). The House had reportedly fired back at the judiciary, with the deputy chair of the House Legislative Committee declaring that the Council of State (Maglis El Dowla) had no legal standing to offer a judicial opinion on the matter, after it called the law illegal, according to Al Shorouk. He stated that only the Constitutional Court can rule on the legality of the law which passes through the House, adding that Parliament will vote on the amendments regardless of the Maglis’ opinion.
Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Al Azhar University Abdel Moneim Fouad took to Yahduth fi Masr to reject opinions that Al Azhar’s teaching had themselves contributed to a rise in extremism. His statements follow Al Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars officially denouncing these accusations earlier in the day. The Council said in a statement yesterday that it alone is “mandated to teach righteous Islamic dogma that spreads peace and stability,” Ahram Online reports.
Kol Youm’s Amr Adib was off last night.