Amid the ongoing fight against terrorism, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi acknowledged it is difficult to limit abuses of authority, admitting that violations exist, but he refused their systematic nature.
Speaking at the Strategic Development in Egypt 2030 conference, Al-Sisi did not specify the nature of violations committed. He made the comments in the context of the emphasising the need to continue the fight against terrorism while continuing to economically support and develop the country.
The president gave a lengthy speech addressing several economic and social issues, as well political developments in the country. He stressed the importance of defending and maintaining the power of the “Egyptian state”.
In response to voices within civil society which have been critical of the Egyptian government, Al-Sisi added that if Egyptian love their country they should “Listen to my [his] words only.”
Discussing the situation in Sinai—which has seen increased insurgency since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi and has been a contentious issue due to a media-gag imposed by the Egyptian state—the president said that as head of the intelligence department, he had privileged access to the extent of militant operations in the volatile peninsula. He assured that he is committed to combating the enemies of the Egyptian people. “I will not let this country to be destroyed. I swear if anyone touches it, I will terminate him.”
He also discussed the status of the parliament saying that he appreciates the performance but expects more in the coming period, while pointing out that the lack of experience of 50% of the members will not stop them from doing their job.
On the energy sector, the president said the government aims to increase energy production by 50% by 2017.
In a bid that the president claimed will help to provide the proper infrastructure for further investment, Al-Sisi announced that the state will complete plans to develop and pave 6,000km of roads by the end of 2016: “We’ve already finished [work] on 133 bridges in 20 months.” Al-Sisi estimated that road development and maintenance would cost EGP 50bn. In a related public works project, Al-Sisi estimated that work to develop the electricity grid would cost EGP 150bn.
Al-Sisi claimed that Egypt needs EGP 165bn to construct the 1m housing units he inaugurated earlier this month at a cost of approximately EGP 16bn. Al-Sisi provided assurances that these houses would be fit for the safety of the Egyptian people.
Speaking about water security, Al-Sisi also addressed the issue of the GERD dam saying that deals are being made with the Ethiopian side to address the shortfall to downstream water flow on the Blue Nile.
While addressing the fiscal constraints that limit the government’s ability to fund social projects, Al-Sisi became emotional saying, “I swear to god, if I could be sold for money, I would do it to provide money to Egyptians.”