Egypt for Sale

Date posted: November 17, 2008


Word is out that every Egyptian citizen who is over 21 years old will own a part of Egypt's public sector companies and factories. The announcement has been the core topic of talk shows and has made its way to the blogosphere. Zeinobia wrote a post titled "To sell your country in an auction" saying:

First of all I apologize for my misunderstanding of the huge surprise, or rather the shock, of the outcome of this year's NDP Conference. Pardon my bad economic information but to be honest I did not get the real idea of the NDP's plan except when I read it several times in the Newspapers. I read it several times because I wanted to know if it was real; does the NDP want to destroy our economy completely this time? 

The blogger summarized the announcement as follows:

1 – The government would privatize public companies and factories and distribute free shares through vouchers to all citizens. 2 – Those Citizens are Egyptians citizens above the age of 21 years. 3 – The parliament will start discussing that plan next week. 4 – The shares will available to the pensioners and public sector employees

Then she wonders:

What about the private sector employees, what about the citizens who work as "farmers"?!

She continues with the summary:

5 – No Foreigners are allowed to buy these shares except if they are listed in the Stock Market!

The she addresses Egyptians saying:

Now my dear friends you have to know that this kind of privatization – The Privatization voucher system – was implemented before in different countries around the globe but it did not work in all countries as it should be. It proved to be a big failure in Russia when it was implemented in 1992, people there used to sell the vouchers to get money without any considerations to the consequences and in the end a minority of people bought most of the shares and some of that minority was the Russian Mafia. Till now the ministers and the NDP officials do not seem to understand the project or the plan as they should; their statements are contradicting one another – for example Mr. Gamal Mubarak as far as I recall said that our shares as total population above 21 years will reach max. L.E. 2000 – yes L.E. 2000 !! The Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohi El-Din in the newspapers today said that the share of the citizen will be more than L.E. 2000. People are more confused than the officials and they do not understand how this plan will be good to the economy and will improve their living. Several newspapers like Al Dostor and Al Badeel asked the people about the plan and their answers were fearful. They said that they would sell those vouchers to get food and pay bills while others wondered if the government is going to sell the Nile and the High Dam.

Her final word on the matter was:

From now to March many things can happen – who knows!

On Facebook, several groups were created objecting to the proposal like Gamal Mubarak – we will not let you sell Egypt to Israel (Ar) and The New Privatization Law is a Trap – Be warned! (AR)

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