Amid the economic turmoil that Egypt has been witnessing over the past few months, members of parliament have suggested solutions for overcoming the crisis. The most controversial suggestions came from MP Moataz Mahmoud, who suggested granting Egyptian nationality to “Arab Investors”.
Controversy arose over the suggestion in the parliament. Currently, the suggestion is being reviewed by the Suggestions and Complaints Committee, before it is given to members for voting procedures.
Mahmoud told Daily News Egypt that the idea originally belonged to economic expert Sameh Sedky, who is not an MP. Mahmoud said he was only suggesting it during a parliamentary session, stressing that it is called the ‘law of attracting investors’, not the ‘law of giving investors the Egyptian nationality’. He also pointed out that this happens in several countries.
“We are not granting the Egyptian nationality to just anyone, but rather to those who prove that they will positively contribute to the Egyptian economy and have projects to work on. Also, we target Arab investors because about 5 million Arab citizens currently live in Egypt, and they are willing to start major projects,” he said.
Mahmoud concluded by saying that there should be guarantees from the Central Bank of Egypt to those investors, in order to reassure them that they can transfer their money whenever they want. He further added that the suggestion is not to grant the Egyptian nationality to anyone, but to have strict regulations on those wishing to obtain it.
Conversely, MP Ehab Mansour told Daily News Egypt that he is entirely against this suggestion, saying that it has several legal and social implications that were not considered. He added that the Egyptian nationality is an honour to Egyptians despite ongoing turmoil, and it cannot be granted to anyone.
“This suggestion should have been made with clarifications and standards; does that mean that military service will be imposed on the investors? Will they get jobs in the Ministry of Interior?” Mansour concluded.
The rate of foreign investment and tourism has significantly declined since 2011, following the 25 January Revolution. Negotiations are currently being held between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund to secure a $12bn loan over three years. This will be part of a $21bn package that Egypt will get from issuing bonds in the international market and loaning from international banks, among other sources.