Egypt: Gov't Designs Comprehensive Plan to Reform Leading Companies , Maintain Workers' Rights

Prime Minister Hazem el-Biblawy said the citizens will not afford any new economic burdens in 2014 and that there is a plan to rationalize the subsidy except for the prices of butane gas cylinder, benzene, diesel oil and bread.

Prime Minister said there are comprehensive and swift plan to launch wide-scale reforms in the strategic sectors and leading companies like the Iron & Steel co.

He indicated that the reform process will maintain the labours, assets, exploit the unused lands and repay back debts of these companies to raise their performance.

El-Biblawy added that the government will put the subject of the value added tax to a societal dialogue before enforcing it and replacing with the incumbent sales tax.

He pointed out that rationalization of the subsidy targets to make sure that the low-income brackets benefit from it and this attitude will take 5 years.

He added the government started implementation of the smart card system concerning transport and distribution of fuel in a bid to fight the tax evasion and provide the subsidized fuel products to those who deserve.

"The ministerial economic group will discuss in its coming meeting the second phase of the government's economic activation plan," he said.

El-Biblawy underlined that the government is keen to incorporate all ministries and authorities concerned in the technical committees under the umbrella of the Suez Canal Authority which is responsible for management of the Suez Canal development project.

Answering a question on the US stance toward Egypt, el-Biblawy said the US administration has become more understanding of the situation in Egypt and realized the terrorist challenges, Egypt faces. He added that Egypt is looking forward to keep its cooperation ties with Washington on the basis of mutual interests and abstain from interference in the internal affairs.

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