Egypt Minister commits to market economy

Monday, 25 July 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Egypt’s Finance Minister-designate told Reuters on Tuesday that the government was committed to a market economy and to creating an environment in which investors could predict the future “reasonably well”.

Hazem el-Beblawi, who has yet to take the oath of office, said he did not rule out the possibility of borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, after

his predecessor negotiated a $3 billion loan package that Cairo later turned down.         

He also said in the telephone interview that his message to investors was that Egypt’s difficulties were temporary.         

“For someone who has a long-term view, this is the time to come and to act on the future because of course anyone who comes now will find much better terms than he can later,” said Beblawi, who is also a deputy to the prime minister.         

Egypt’s economy has been hammered by a popular uprising that turfed out Hosni Mubarak, driving investors away, sending tourists packing and leading to an expanding budget deficit.        

Protesters, who have demanded sweeping political change, have also sought an end to a system they said filled the pockets of a rich elite allied to Mubarak’s government at the expense of the poor. Some investors have feared that the call for spreading wealth could lead to a retreat from liberalisation policies.