Egypt’s parliament gives preliminary approval to the new ‘General Unified Economic Planning Law’ that aims to streamline the process of preparing the country’s economic policies and engage the private sector in economic development projects.
In a statement before the House, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Saeed said the current economic planning law is almost 40 years old. “It was passed in 1973 while the country was adopting socialist policies, and now it is high time to change this law to go in line with the change in economic policies which have become market-oriented,” said El-Saeed.
El-Saeed said the law aims to achieve balanced development in all governorates. “The law seeks to achieve justice among governorates in terms of development,” said El-Saeed, adding that “the law also aims to diversify sources of funding for development projects through engaging the private sector and civil society organizations and cooperating with governorates to make use of the comparative advantage of each governorate.”
In addition to approving the law in principle, MPs gave the thumbs up for four articles. House speaker Hanafi Gibali said the House will continue discussing more articles on Wednesday.
In their preliminary discussion of the law on Tuesday, MPs approved that a Higher Council for Planning and Sustainable Development will be set up to help create coordination among all state authorities, the private sector, and civil society organizations when it comes to forging economic planning policies, and that the Council will make sure that no development projects are implemented without making sure first that they are economically feasible. Article one states that “while the Council will be headed by the president of the republic, its board members will include the prime minister, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, the ministers of planning, international cooperation and finance, five cabinet ministers to be nominated by the prime minister, and four development experts to be nominated by the minister of planning.”
Article two states that institutions tasked with preparing annual socio-economic development plans will include ministries, public service and economic organizations, local councils, public sector companies and public enterprise companies.