By: Lamia Nabil
The Salafi Al-Nour Party launched its new economic initiative, the National Council for Economic Development, yesterday.
Head of the Economic Committee at the Al-Nour Party Dr Tarek Shaalan said that this initiative “represents a full roadmap for economic development in Egypt”, one which will include a “truth and reconciliation committee” to solve all outstanding issues with former regime businessmen.
He added that such problems will not be solved unless there is “a clear push for general amnesty” for former regime businessmen. “The initiative was postponed several times due to political issues,” he said.
“There is currently mistrust between the people and the presidency,” he said. He attributed this to “miscommunication” in a number of situations, such as “the recent television interview which was aired hours late”.
“The only people who trust the presidency at the moment are the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), as the president is one of them,” said Shaalan. “So, at the moment, any presidential initiatives will be met with rejection. All experts and economists have expressed dissatisfaction with the current government. It is therefore a must that there is a clear plan to tackle our economy’s deterioration.”
Shaalan affirmed that this initiative should have popular approval, and that is was not simply a bid to win votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
He also said that the country’s economic system need not necessarily be “Islamic” in nature. “The Al-Nour Party agrees with all the economic experts who have said that we could adopt a ‘social market economy’,” he said.
He also added that it was important to include economic identity in the new constitution, and that since the president mentioned before that the constitution can be modified, this identity could in future be included within the constitution.
Moreover, he also proposed the inclusion of “mega projects” within the constitution, especially those using country resources such as the development of the Sinai or Upper Egypt areas.
Such “great national projects” should be included in the constitution, he said, because it will be necessary to decide on regulations and laws in order to prevent these areas from “inheriting the state bureaucracy, corruption and low salaries” of the previous regime. “It must represent freedom, rights for people with disabilities and all people from different denominations, and be almost akin to building parallel states,” he added.
“All financing methods are welcome,” Shaalan continued, talking about sources of financing for such “mega projects”.
“There are some concepts, such the legality of loans, authorisations for credit transactions and plans to choose the best loans and funds, that need to be stated clearly,” he said. “Furthermore, everyone’s approval will be necessary, so as not to cause any confusion or disagreement.”
“The youth have the priority in this plan,” he said. “So all national resources should be directed towards SMEs in order to help the youth build their life after the revolution.”
Al-Nour will now be inviting all parties “without exceptions” to discuss the initiative, concluded Shaalan, in addition to political figures, economic experts, “former prime ministers”, the Shura Council president and “perhaps the minister of planning, as the ministry cares for such projects and proposals submitted to the government”.