Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Egyptian minister: "Israel is the #1 enemy of Egypt and Arabs"
Dr. Gouda Abdel-Khalek, Egyptian Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, has said that the calls by some Egyptians to dismantle the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is "absurd."
He said that the Egyptian military is "the only coherent military institution in the Arab world, capable of facing any external force."
Abdel-Khalek told Al Masry al Youm, "I ask the revolutionaries to cease the demand for dropping SCAF, if they consider that Israel remains the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arabs."
Abdel-Khalek was, unsurprisingly, appointed by the military council. And the Egyptian military owns a lot of Egypt's internal trade, even of non-military items.
In the cabinet reshuffling currently taking place under Egypt's militarily-appointed premier Kamal El-Ganzouri, he places the responsiblity for regulating food prices back on the lap of the Minister of Social Solidarity - now renamed the Ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade.
This revives a ministry that had recently been eliminated, simply transferring the post under the new name to Gouda Abdel Khaleq, who served as minister of social solidarity in the last administration.
Abdel Khaleq is a veteran leftist associated with Al-Tagammu party.
Prime Minister El-Ganzouri, who was chosen by Egypt’s ruling military junta to replace Essam Sharaf last week, has previously stated that the ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade will be mandated to face the rising prices of basic goods and food stuffs. It will also be responsible for supplying goods to limited-income citizens through its outlets.
Food prices, which account for 44 per cent of Egypt's consumer price index (CPI), dropped 0.5 per cent in October below September’s level. Egypt’s annual inflation registered 7.5 per cent in October, a significant dip from September's figure of 8.5 per cent.
The CPI, however, is expected to rebound in November and December as inflationary pressures still exists, mostly due to persistent food market inefficiencies and a lack of regulation in production, rather than any rise in household incomes.