Economists sceptical about fundraising initiative

Egyptian television channel launches Support Egypt Fund

GMT 12:17 2013 Monday ,08 July

Arab Today, arab today Egyptian television channel launches Support Egypt Fund

Owner of Egyptian satellite channel CBC, Mohamed el-Amin
Cairo – Akram Ali

Owner of Egyptian satellite channel CBC, Mohamed el-Amin Cairo – Akram Ali Egyptians eager to see the country move forward economically after Mohammed Morsi's ouster last week are pouring their efforts into a new donations fund. However, since the launch of the Support Egypt Fund on Friday, some economists have cast doubt as to whether such a fund is the best way to bring an end to the crisis.
The proposal, announced on Egyptian satellite channel CBC by its owner Mohamed el-Amin, aims to raise 10 billion Egyptian pounds in donations.
El-Amin, whom the deposed president had accused in his June 26 speech of using his channel to attack him politically while owing the state money, has since been banned from travel and is under investigation for allegedly evading 427 million Egyptian pounds in taxes.
Egyptians from around the world called into to Khairi Ramadan's fundraising programme over the weekend to pledge donations to the fund. Most notably, a senior military official pledged 300 million Egyptian pounds.
Judges' Club head and prominent Morsi opponent Judge Ahmed el-Zend promised to donate 25,000 Egyptian pounds, and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced that the ministry would auction off distinctive car licence plates and donate the proceeds to the fund.
The Support Egypt Fund is the latest in a series of similar initiatives since the revolution dealt the first blow to Egypt's economy two and a half years ago.
The first was account number 25/01/2011, opened by Minister of Finance Samir Radwan in March 2011, which reportedly gathered 40 million Egyptian pounds in donations.
This was followed by a private initiative from influential Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan in February 2012 after US politicians threatened to cut the $1.3 billion annual US military aid to Egypt.
Last November, former president Morsi called on Egyptians to donate to the newly-opened account number 333/333 at the Central Bank of Egypt, dubbed Egypt's Renaissance, to support the country's struggling economy.
Meanwhile, some Egyptian economists are sceptical about such initiatives. Sultan Abu Ali told Arab Today: "Egyptians have supported several similar projects in the past, and every time, we don't know where the money has gone."
Egypt's budget deficit hit 205 billion Egyptian pounds (roughly $29.2 billion) – representing 11.8 percent of GDP – in the first 11 months of the 2012/13 fiscal year, the finance ministry said in June.
The country's total external debt reached $30.6 billion, or 14.9 percent of GDP in March 2013, according to the Central Bank.
Domestic debt totalled 1.3 trillion Egyptian pounds in December 2012.

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