Egypt is hoping that Western and Arab nations will provide its economy with the equivalent of twenty-one billion US dollars in aid and investment during the next five years.
Egypt is hoping that Western and Arab nations will provide its economy with the equivalent of twenty-one billion US dollars in aid and investment during the next five years. President Anwar Sadat outlined his plans for Egypt's economic future on Wednesday (27 December) at a closed meeting of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Cairo.
SYNOPSIS: President Sadat received enthusiastic applause from party members in the People's Assembly building. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil and NDP Secretary General, Fikri Makram Ebied. The NDP was formed only a few months ago. President Sadat holds regular meetings to keep members informed about government policies and the progress of peace negotiations with Israel. Prime Minister Khalil told the meeting the government planned to reduce the budget deficit in 1979 to one point seven billion Egyptian pounds (2.5 billion US dollars). He said this would be financed by curbing expenditure, and increasing national savings and indirect taxes.
Debts arising from the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 still cost the country one billion Egyptian pounds (1.5 billion US dollars) a year. President Sadat hopes for a massive long-term economic transformation from the five-year foreign investment programme he proposes.
In the short term, he said, direct subsidies on essential goods would remain, but taxes on luxury goods would rise to help finance next year's deficit. The government is reportedly anxious to avoid a repeat of the serious rioting of 1977 that followed attempts to adjust subsidies on essential goods.