Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fanila Fantasy - The Case of Omar Effendi

As Egypt's political soap opera lingers on, a recent decision of an economic administrative court carries potentially far more lasting consequences to the lives of ordinary Egyptians. The affirmation of the annulment of the privatization of Omar Effendi -- a heavily indebted, overstaffed and low-quality department store chain sold to a Gulf investor in 2006 -- sends out a troubling signal to the market over the direction of Egyptian economic policy making.

Deeply flawed on procedural and substantive grounds, the Omar Effendi case has became a rallying point for the retrograde revolutionary activists promising a return of the Egyptian economy to its illusory socialist hey-day. The fact the all-powerful rulers allowed for this decision to be rendered is revealing of their control-and-command mentality, the same mentality that set the country so far back for sixty years. A security-first instinct mixing with interventionist populism is unwinding the tepid market-based reforms undertaken in Egypt over the last decade, further setting back the cause of reform.

Egyptians cannot afford more of these delusions, no matter the excuses and no matter how many stop-gap grants the country bribes out of the world. There are no shortcuts to market reforms; the longer Egypt waits, the harder they will be to implement.  

No comments:

Post a Comment