Egyptian Groups Push Back against IMF Loan
According to Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said, the Egyptian government expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan. Reuters says, “The government wants the $4.8 billion IMF loan to help it narrow a budget deficit running at 11 percent of gross domestic product and a balance of payments deficit that has gobbled up more than $20 billion of its foreign reserves since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.” The cabinet will convene with President Mohamed Morsi to review the government’s “comprehensive development plan” on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil said.
In response, 18 groups sent a letter to Morsi asking him to forgo the IMF deal, saying that the process has “lacked transparency on the part of both the IMF and the Government of Egypt.” The letter says the system of public scrutiny for the loan was exclusionary, and suggests that due to the lack of a functioning parliament, “any agreement under these circumstances would contravene the democratic principle of separation of powers and Egypt’s longstanding constitutional requirement of parliamentary oversight over executive decisions.” Bloomberg says, “Among the signatories are three political parties affiliated with former presidential candidates, and a party set up by Muslim Brotherhood’s youth wing. The April 6th Movement [...] has signed the letter, as well as unions active in Egypt’s labor movement.”
In other news, Egypt’s interior ministry was reshuffled, creating two new divisions within the ministry: a human rights section headed by Major-General Hussein Othman, the former ministerial aide for the West Delta zone, and a social communication sector headed by Major-General Abu Bakr Abdel Karim, the former secretary of the media and public relations department. Meanwhile, President Morsi is scheduled to visit Germany in January 2013.
Finally, Hussein Shobokshi writes “the political immaturity, sometimes reaching the extent of stupidity, which we have seen many times in the Arab Spring states, regarding the way in which new political regimes deal with political upheavals taking place, is not only a cause for concern, but a cause for sorrow and alarm as well.” Carol Giacomo talks about the role of women in transitional countries, saying women are “increasingly asserting themselves” and that post-Arab Spring states “will not succeed unless women are fully incorporated into political and economic life.”