Statement by President El Sisi at meeting with leaders of US Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday، 05 April 2017 - 04:23 PM
Ladies and gentlemen;
I would like in the beginning to express my pleasure for visiting today the US Chamber of Commerce; which is one of the centers of the US business community and an important partner of Egypt in the economic domain with all its aspects over long years now. I would like to thank all chamber officials atop of whom comes Mr. Thomas Donohue, the President and CEO for the warm reception and current fruitful cooperation with Egypt.
I would like also to express my pleasure for meeting this distinguished group of representatives of the US business community who are interested in doing business with Egypt. I would like to express my eagerness to meet with you during my visits to the US either in New York or Washington out of my keenness on maintaining direct contacts with you and out of my faith in the importance of the private sector's role in general and that of the US Chamber of Commerce in particular in supporting economic cooperation between Egypt and the US.
I would like to underline on this score that the strategic relations binding Egypt and the US for around four decades now, have been the core of my talks today with President Donald Trump in the White House. I have felt during these talks that our views are identical regarding the necessity of enhancing cooperation between the two countries at all levels and concerning joint action for overcoming joint challenges facing our two countries. The Egyptian-US cooperation has always been one of the pillars of security and stability in the Middle East. Today, our region needs more of this cooperation to achieve our joint goals.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Political developments in Egypt over the past six years have imposed big burdens on the Egyptian economy. Therefore, I have given much importance to restoring security and political stability and to redressing economic drawbacks. As you all know, Egypt has completed all democratic steps and the Egyptian street restored its stability and security. Now, we are implementing a serious economic reform program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund along with adopting tangible measures for providing an investment-attractive atmosphere. These measures encouraged the private sector to channel more investments into Egypt in the recent period.
Out of our awareness of the magnitude of economic challenges, the comprehensive economic reform program that is adopted by Egypt is based on four pillars. The first one is related to the general financial policies and is aimed at reducing public debt and the budget deficit while the second pillar is related to the monetary policies and is aimed at upgrading the efficiency of the performance of the foreign currency market and applying a flexible exchange rate with a view to increasing competitiveness and attracting more foreign direct investments along with reducing inflation rates. The third pillar is related to the social protection policies and is aimed at promoting the efficiency of the subsidy system and the networks of social protection programs along with family empowerment. The fourth pillar is related to structural reforms and is aimed at stimulating investment and providing an atmosphere which supports and attracts more investments side by side with enhancing accountability and fighting corruption.
We have adopted several unprecedented economic reform decisions to implement this program where the Central Bank of Egypt liberalized in November 2016 the pound exchange rate in a step that helped provide the foreign currency needs for companies operating in Egypt. It also led to an increase in the foreign currency reserves and improving Egypt's credit rating. Meanwhile, the government has partially lifted subsidy on fuel with a view to rationalizing the subsidy system in all its forms that was adding burdens to the general budget of the State while subsidy would not reach those who need it. Also several taxation reform measures were adopted for outlining stable and transparent taxation policies. These measures included issuing several laws the most important of which is the taxation law on the added value.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Egypt is attaching much importance to encouraging and stimulating investment. The government has adopted several measures that are required to remove all hindrances impeding the private sector and foreign investors. These measures included setting up the Supreme Council of Investment under the chairmanship of the president of the republic and working for issuing in the near future a new investment law along with upgrading the system of services extended to investors. The government is eager to amend the competition and monopoly law for enhancing competitiveness and encouraging small and medium sized enterprises. Several legislative reforms are expected to be introduced in 2017 including issuing the law of financial hiring and amendments to the capital market and the insurance laws.
Ladies and gentlemen;
I would like to assert the great importance the government is attaching to the contribution of the private sector to the development process through the participation in mega national projects atop of which comes the project of developing the Suez Canal zone which is aimed at maximizing the benefit from the huge potentials of this promising area as a crossing bridge between the East and the West. The government is working for making the zone an international hub for navigation and logistical and industrial services. These projects include also the reclamation of the 1.5 million feddans which is aimed at increasing the arable area in Egypt by around 20 percent. These projects include setting up several new cities including the new administrative capital for increasing the urban area by around five percent by the year 2030.
The government is also exerting great efforts for upgrading and enhancing the efficiency of the national road network in addition to diversifying the sources of power generation to include an expansion of renewable energy sources and setting up new conventional power generation plants. The government is implementing several other tong-term development projects such as the Golden Triangle project which is aimed at setting up mining industries centers and international tourist destinations that will provide up to half a million jobs. This triangle project is aimed to be an international area for attracting investments over a space of around 9,000 square kilometers. Also, Egypt is working to develop giant gas explorations and gradually increasing its natural gas production by the year 2019.
I would like to make reference that all these efforts have contributed to pushing up Egypt's rating by nine ranks in the Doing Business Report for the Year 2017 that is issued by the World Bank if compared to its rating in the year 2016. This is attributed to an improvement in the domains of establishing companies, providing the energy required for projects and protecting small investors in companies through increasing their role and rights that are related to taking essential decisions in the companies.
Ladies and gentlemen;
In conclusion, I would like to underline our full awareness that all these great efforts that were exerted so far are mere steps along a hard and long march. We are committed to complete our efforts for achieving a comprehensive economic reform and putting Egypt in the appropriate status which she deserves on the world trade and economy map whatever the difficulty of these measures. I would not miss the opportunity to laud the awareness of the Egyptian people and their sense of responsibility over the past period where they endured the outcome of the reform measures with all bravery and patience although these measures have added more burdens on their shoulders. This great people have proven their deep awareness of the importance of these measures for putting Egypt on the right track.
I have all confidence that you will be in the vanguard of supporters for the economic reform in Egypt and for what has been achieved at the level of economic relations between the two countries given the importance of these relations as a basic component in the strategic partnership between the two countries. I confirm to you that we are moving steadily until we reach our goals and achieve for the Egyptian citizens the better future which they deserve.