Islamic bonds not meaning privatization: Egypt’s finance ministerSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 04/03/2013 8:52 am in World / no comments
CAIRO, March 3 — Egyptian Finance Minister al-Morsi Hegazy said Sunday that the sukuk (Islamic-sanctioned bonds) project is a new funding window for Egypt and it is not an alternative for another funding tool or method.
At a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Cairo, Hegazy said “sukuk project does not mean privatization”, explaining that it starts as something private then it turns into public ownership.
“Egypt is for Egyptians and its soil is not a matter of mortgage of selling,” the minister said in response to claims that sukuk would allow foreigners to own key state properties.
Hegazy said “the financial commission in the Shura Council promised to consider all remarks related to the sukuk draft law submitted by the government, which has been drafted by investment and finance ministries along with members of the economic commission and members of the Islamic Research Complex.”
The minister reiterated that the four sessions which had been held to discuss the draft law were “fruitful,” noting the sukuk system would be applied in some oil projects and in the establishment of storehouses.
Hegazy added that there was no contradiction between sukuk and partnership with the private sector, arguing that sukuk would help in resolving some economic problems.
The minister has previously said that the government amended the controversial sukuk draft law to protect key state assets from being sold or mortgaged, adding that such Islamic bonds were expected to generate 10 billion U.S. dollars for the Egyptian government.
Out of belief that the Islamic bonds would relieve Egypt’s ailing economy, the cabinet amended the debatable draft law, approved it and referred it to the Shura Council, the country’s temporary legislative authority, for review.