Egypt: Concerns about direction of proposed dialogue, while Gov. promises to sell off state assets

A political party chairman has voiced concerns over the direction of Sisi’s proposed national dialogue by intelligence-affiliates youth organizations. Meanwhile, PM Mostafa Madbouly and other government officials have announced the government’s plans to sell off state assets under pretext of increasing private investment.

Assigning security services-related youth organizations to conduct national dialogue National Dialogue Department to youth organizations would turn it into a carnival, even if it achieves only a “temporary breakthrough, says political leader Mohamed Anwar Sadat.

Reform and Development Party head and National Council for Human Rights member Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat has voiced concern over the direction of planned national dialogue called for by Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

However, Sisi’s planned dialogue continues to generate skepticism and a little optimism, while the government is again promising to sell off state assets

Sadat said that he has “praised and welcomed Sisi’s recent invitation for an inclusive national dialogue from day one”, but he cautioned that the dialogue will “never achieve the goal behind it” if it is run by security agency-affiliated youth associations.

In a similar vein, he welcomed recent releases and pardons of political prisoners but complained about their limited scope, joining calls for a more comprehensive solution.

He added that the goal for the dialogue must be to establish a “new political sphere and social contract between the ruler and citizens,” with Egyptians finally having the chance to meaningfully participate in political life and the judiciary upholding the law and constitution. 

Members of the Civil Democratic Movement, which recently demanded that the government take several steps to prove it is serious about change, met with Sadat’s Reform and Development Party on May 14 in attempt to formulate a unified stance on and plan for the dialogue.

Gov. promises to sell off state assets

During a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and other government officials outlined the government’s plans to sell off state assets and increase private investment.

Madbouly said he wanted the private sector’s share of investment in the economy to more than double by 2025, from 30 percent today to 65 percent.

To do so, the government plans to list 10 state companies and two military companies on the stock market later this year.

The government will also offer shares in state-owned hotels and transportation projects, as well as the country’s seven largest ports, which it aims to merge under a single holding company.

Madbouly reiterated earlier promises to unveil a document that will lay out which sectors the state intends to completely or partially withdraw from.

The government has been promising to increase private sector investment for years, with little to show for it.

Officials are also working with Gulf countries to have them convert their deposits in Egypt into investments.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE each agreed in March to send billions of dollars to Egypt. Madbouly also expressed hope that Egypt will reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in the next several months.

The state’s economic pressures, already pressing at the beginning of the year, have only grown more acute since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, with soaring wheat and energy prices exacting a heavy toll on the state budget.

The government also revealed that it plans to buy five hundred thousand tons of wheat from India, and it expressed hope that India’s new ban on exports will not affect the sale.