Egyptian Government Plans Daily Meetings to Tackle Monetary Crisis
Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Ebeid said his government will meet every day "for the next two weeks" starting immediately to tackle a monetary crisis paralyzing economic activity, the government press reported Saturday.
The government and relevant local bodies will work on a program to re-activate the market, as the country faces a shortage of both dollars and Egyptian pounds, Ebeid told local journalists.
The government admitted the existence of a crisis for the first time last week, amid attacks from the press and business community.
Central Bank reserves have fallen from 19.8 billion dollars in December 1998 to 15.63 billion a year later, according to official figures.
The government meetings will cover various aspects of the economic situation: tax evasion, "corruption and other offences," repayment of government debt, use of foreign loans and aid, increasing exports and promoting investments," Ebeid said.
He did not spell out what measures his government plans to adopt to achieve these goals, but did say that it will not involve increasing money supply, which would trigger inflation.
He added that 90 multinational companies have announced plans to invest two billion dollars in Egypt, but gave no details.
President Hosni Mubarak last week ordered the government to inject 7.5 billion dollars into the economy over eight months to pay back a part of the country's internal debt.
The number of Egyptian firms going bankrupt between July 1999 and January 2000 rose by more than 50 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to an official report published Saturday.
Creation of new businesses fell during the same timeframe said a cabinet report published in the government evening paper Al-Ahram Al-Missai.
Bankruptcies rose 54 percent to more than 22,000 cases, the report said.
But the number of new businesses was only 2,174 compared with 2,432 between July 1998 and January 1999, the report said.
The report covered all businesses, large and small, the paper said.
Egypt recently announced measures to inject cash into the economy to combat a liquidity problem, which has paralyzed economic activity – (AFP)
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