Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Army's Economy Amounts to 1-1.5 pct of Egypt's GDP: Sisi
Ahram Online
Wednesday 26 Oct 2016

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Tuesday evening that the size of the armed forces' economic activities ranges "from only 1 to 1.5 percent of Egypt's GDP, not from 20 to 25 percent as some people claim."

In the televised National Youth Conference, El-Sisi refuted that the armed forces are competing with the private sector for profit, saying that they are mainly responsible for national security but have had to intervene in some projects because the amount of work required in the economy is "huge."

The president added that the armed forces will deliver 1,350 projects before the end of 2018.

"The economic projects of the armed forces are monitored by the Accountability State Authority; its financial statements are reviewed and they pay taxes [for such projects] just as other institutions and companies do," he said.

El-Sisi added that eight million packages of basic food commodities, produced by the armed forces, will be sold at half market price in the coming period, to help supply eight million households.

On Monday, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in an interview with Egyptian privately-owned channel CBC’s Lamees El-Hadidi that the army’s role in the economy will diminish within two to three years.

Ismail said that the army maintains a role in managing national projects "due to the accumulation of crises in recent years," stressing that the actual work is mainly executed by private sector companies.

The president’s and the premier’s statements come nearly a month after the army announced it would intervene to solve the baby formula crisis—saying it would provide milk formula at a lower-than-market price—days after dozens of parents protested price hikes and shortages of the subsidized milk powder.

The move sparked a debate over whether the army had become overly involved in the economy at the cost of its main duty to secure the country.

Egypt has been struggling to tackle an economic crisis since the 2011 uprising, which was followed by political and security turbulence that spooked foreign investors and tourists, both major sources of hard currency.

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