New budget ‘represents the past,’ says former Finance Minister

Samir Radwan, the former Finance Minister, said that the current state budget “represents the past” and that it “would not achieve the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” speaking to the private satellite channel CBC on Monday.

Radwan said that he hopes President Mohamed Morsy will propose a plan for the advancement of the economic situation, and for the independence of the central bank.

He went on to stress the importance of increasing wages and utilizing the Supreme Council of Wages to meet the revolution’s goals.

Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed said on Monday that the state budget will bear the cost of Social Secuity for government employees and for both civilian and military pensions, amounting to LE3.5 billion, as of July. He added that government spending and subsidies of petroleum products would be cut by LE25 billion but would not affect low-income brackets. He denied the possibility of raising fuel prices or imposing new taxes.

Radwan also opined that the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party should take on the responsibilities of the Finance Ministry, saying they “have significant economic experience that would help develop Egypt and its economy.” He warned against wasting time in arguments over what is considered as Islamic and what is considered a free economy.

He went on to say that the flow of Qatari investments to Egypt is not worrisome as long it is a regular and state-supervised flow.

He also said that the cabinet of former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was reluctant to get any loans from the World Bank, fearing that the loan would be a burden for the following cabinet.

Radwan said that Sharaf did not want to leave the country in debt during his term. Radwan added that he himself was defending this position.

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