Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ con­tri­bu­tion to na­tional in­come is not less than 30%: for­mer gov­er­nor of Qal­i­u­biya, Me­noufiya

A NEW NA­TIONAL ACADEMY IS SUP­POSED TO BE ES­TAB­LISHED AC­CORD­ING TO AR­TI­CLE 10 OF THE NEW BILL, FOR ALL WHO WORK IN MU­NIC­I­PAL­I­TIES AND ALL WHO IN­TEND TO RUN FOR LOCAL ELEC­TIONS

The Daily News Egypt - - Business -

As for­mer gov­er­nor of two large gov­er­norates, Qal­i­u­biya and Me­noufiya, and some­one who contributed in draft­ing the new mu­nic­i­pal­ity man­age­ment bill, Adli Hussein in­tro­duced an in­te­grated vi­sion of the forth­com­ing bill, de­pict­ing the mon­i­tor­ing roles it in­cludes.

Hussein also ex­plained in an in­ter­view to Daily News Egypt how the ab­sence of elected mu­nic­i­pal­ity coun­cils since 2011 till now has not only neg­a­tively im­pacted the eco­nomic scene in Egypt, but equally the megapro­jects which have been es­tab­lished through­out the past four years.

The tran­script for the in­ter­view is be­low, lightly edited for clar­ity:

How much does the con­sti­tu­tion sup­port gov­er­norates and their local ac­tiv­i­ties?

The 2014 con­sti­tu­tion care­fully deals with local de­vel­op­ment.The con­sti­tu­tion sup­ports it with de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion fi­nan­cially, ad­min­is­tra­tively, and tech­ni­cally in or­der to en­hance the role of mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils in each gov­er­norate. Plus, it pro­vides these coun­cils with full au­ton­omy to en­able them to play their roles with­out any re­stric­tions or bur­dens. In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion, the de­ci­sions and res­o­lu­tions that are re­leased by these coun­cils are ir­re­versible. But, ac­tu­ally, the new bill sets only three con­di­tion to for op­po­si­tion. They are in the event if those de­ci­sions are against the pub­lic in­ter­est, or are il­le­gal, or if they con­flict with other res­o­lu­tions re­leased by other mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils. More­over, it en­sures that the elec­tion is be the method of the gov­er­nors’ ap­point­ment.

From your per­spec­tive, why has this bill not been re­leased yet?

The new bill was sup­posed to be ready af­ter dis­cussing it in both ple­nary ses­sion and local gov­er­nance com­mit­tee meet­ings in 2016 and 2017. But, I was sur­prised when the chair­per­son of the local gov­er­nance com­mit­tee in par­lia­ment stated that the gov­ern­ment is not yet ready to hold mu­nic­i­pal­ity elec­tions. In­deed, the new bill is still not on the par­lia­ment’s agenda.

To what ex­tent has Egypt been af­fected by the ab­sence of mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils in all gov­er­norates?

These elec­tions are the main means of ac­quir­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of po­lit­i­cal prac­tice in Egypt. Ac­tu­ally, it sup­ports the demo­cratic com­po­si­tion to the point where its role is more im­por­tant than the par­lia­ment it­self, as these en­ti­ties and its elected mem­bers di­rectly stay in touch with cit­i­zens,and deal with their trou­bles and com­plaints on a daily ba­sis. Fur­ther­more, the new bill adopts in­ter­pel­la­tion as a mea­sure to in­ter­ro­gate of­fi­cials who are re­spon­si­ble for any dere­lic­tion, in­clud­ing the gov­er­nor him­self. Thus, the for­ma­tion of mu­nic­i­pal­ity coun­cils is an im­por­tant guide for po­lit­i­cal prac­tice, and the demo­cratic process is in dire need for

LOCAL ELEC­TIONS SUP­PORT THE DEMO­CRATIC COM­PO­SI­TION TO THE POINT WHERE THEIR ROLE IS MORE IM­POR­TANT THAN THE PAR­LIA­MENT IT­SELF

THE NEW BILL WAS SUP­POSED TO BE READY AF­TER DIS­CUSSING IT IN BOTH PLE­NARY SES­SION AND LOCAL GOV­ER­NANCE COM­MIT­TEE MEET­INGS IN 2016 AND 2017

MEM­BERS OF MU­NIC­I­PAL COUN­CILS, DE­PEND­ING ON THEIR DAILY CON­NEC­TION WITH PEO­PLE, WOULD HAVE A MIS­SION IN PERSUADING THEM WITH THE NEW ECO­NOMIC PRO­CE­DURES

it. Ac­tu­ally, Egypt has not ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar elec­tions since 2011.

But it has been a very long pe­riod, so, what is the im­pact of this sit­u­a­tion dur­ing this ex­tended time?

In con­tra­dic­tion with the con­sti­tu­tion and law, since the dis­so­lu­tion of these coun­cils in the wake of 25th up­ris­ing in 2011, all gov­er­norates are act­ing with­out their local coun­cils, although the con­sti­tu­tion and the ex­ist­ing law pro­vide for form­ing in­terim mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils in case of the dis­so­lu­tion of ex­ist­ing ones. It has not been hap­pened till now, hence this case is a deeply un­con­sti­tu­tional and a legally flawed con­di­tion. Un­ques­tion­ably, we must promptly form in­terim mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils to avoid this un­con­sti­tu­tional and il­le­gal con­di­tion. In ad­di­tion, these in­terim coun­cils will sup­port gov­er­nors to per­form their du­ties. Fur­ther­more, they are re­spon­si­ble for any over­sight con­cern­ing the gov­er­nor’s per­for­mance.

What about the im­pact, in par­tic­u­lar on the Egyp­tian econ­omy, es­pe­cially on the re­form pro­gramme?

Un­for­tu­nately, the ab­sence of these coun­cils has sig­nif­i­cantly harmed Egypt’s econ­omy. Land al­lo­ca­tions, bud­get­ing, im­pos­ing local ac­tiv­ity fees, ap­prov­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of new projects in gov­er­norates, and over­sight of the gov­er­nor’s du­ties are es­sen­tial roles of these coun­cils. Thus, all gov­er­norates have suf­fered in their ab­sence. In ad­di­tion, it has a neg­a­tive im­pact on sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment in gov­er­norates which is the key is­sue of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy Egypt 2030, def­i­nitely af­fect­ing the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment.

Does it mean that these coun­cils have a ma­jor role?

That is right. Mem­bers of these coun­cils, de­pend­ing on their daily con­nec­tion with peo­ple, would have a mis­sion in persuading them with the new eco­nomic pro­ce­dures which in­clude se­ri­ous ones for cit­i­zens’ daily life such as the floata­tion of the Egyp­tian pound, phas­ing out en­ergy re­sources sub­si­dies, in­creas­ing ser­vice fees, and other sim­i­lar pro­ce­dures. That would have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in this re­gard, which, even­tu­ally, would help the gov­ern­ment to keep op­er­at­ing smoothly.Their role is more im­por­tant than the role of the me­dia or even the par­lia­ment.

As a par­tic­i­pant in draft­ing the new law, what are the mon­i­tor­ing tools that were in­cluded?

The over­sight tools that are in­sured by the new bill, in­cluded ques­tion­ing, re­quests for briefing, and in­ter­ro­ga­tion, which are vi­tal for re­proach­ing neg­li­gence to the ex­tent that gov­er­nors can have con­fi­dence with­drawn from them. What’s more, the key is­sue is that the new bill de­votes an en­tire sec­tion for Cairo as the cap­i­tal city with a spe­cial con­di­tion on the grounds that is the rul­ing cen­tre and the head­quar­ter of most min­istries and gov­ern­men­tal bod­ies. More­over it is the most pop­u­lated and most vi­tal city, in a man­ner which dis­tin­guishes it from other gov­er­norates. This is the model which is fol­lowed in all de­vel­oped coun­tries such as France, Brus­sels, and Lon­don.Thereby, this is a good step for­ward as it se­cures more pow­ers and com­pe­ten­cies.

What about qual­i­fy­ing per­son­nel in these mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to be­come com­pe­tent lead­ers for local coun­cils?

A new na­tional academy is sup­posed to be es­tab­lished ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 10 of the new bill, for all who work in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and all who in­tend to run for local elec­tions, in ad­di­tion to qual­i­fy­ing per­son­nel to as­sume lead­er­ship posts. This would bring an end to de­pend­ing on as­signed em­ploy­ees from min­istries or depart­ments to work in local coun­cils.

How will these in­stru­ments fa­cil­i­tate the work of these coun­cils?

They will pro­vide the chance for gov­er­nors and local coun­cils to work more in­de­pen­dently; ap­prove new projects and es­tab­lish­ments; of­fer eco­nomic in­cen­tives for in­vestors; boost small, medium, and mi­cro en­ter­prises, and pro­mote in­vest­ments in each gov­er­norate. In this re­gard, I would like to men­tion a suc­cess­ful in­stru­ment which at­tracts in­vest­ments that I had ap­plied when I was a gov­er­nor of Qal­i­u­biya, which is Fra­ter­ni­ties Agree­ments. This in­stru­ment al­lows for the co­op­er­a­tion and ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences be­tween Egyp­tian local coun­cils and their coun­ter­parts in other coun­tries. I wish that the fi­nal draft of the new law would al­low for these kinds of agree­ments.

As a for­mer gov­er­nor, can you es­ti­mate mu­nic­i­pal­ity ac­tiv­i­ties’ con­tri­bu­tion to the na­tional in­come?

Not less than 30%.

And how do mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils sup­port the mega projects which have been es­tab­lished?

These mega projects are sup­posed to open branches in some of the Egyp­tian gov­er­norates which could pave the way for new in­vest­ments in these gov­er­norates, fol­lowed by of­fer­ing new job va­can­cies. In this re­gard, the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils have a role to re­move ob­sta­cles which re­strict these new in­vest­ments.

THE MU­NIC­I­PAL COUN­CILS HAVE A ROLE TO RE­MOVE OB­STA­CLES WHICH RE­STRICT NEW IN­VEST­MENTS

What can con­cerned bod­ies do to avoid this com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion?

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