A small government is a beautifull thing!
It is not a secret that the majority of Egyptians don't really like their government because it is so damn big. In fact, Egyptians are usually anti- big government when they are given a choice in the matter, which is why every US egyptian immigrant i know votes republican. This disdain for government started after the 1952 socialist revolution, because prior to that , the Egyptian government was incredibly small. It had 10 Ministries ( Our word for Cabinets) and they covered only the areas that government should cover in my opinion, which are: Policing, Justice, Health, Defense, Treasury,Education, Foreign Affairs, Transportation, Trade, and Public Utilities (which included energy). That was it! The egyptian economy was in great condition, the UK owed us money, The Egyptian pound's exchange rate was $4 US Dollars to 1 Egyptian Pound. Egypt was a constitutional Monarchy , we had democratic elections that determined the parliament and government based on Party coalitions. That was then! Now, with the socialists in power since 1952, we have no democracy to speak off, Our Debts exceed our GDP by 33%, The president picks the government , the economy stinks and the Egyptian Pound Exchange Rate is 6 Egyptian Pounds to $1 US Dollar. Ohh yeah, and we have a much bigger government now. We have 34 Ministries. Thirty-Freakin-Four! The USA, which is comprised of 50 states, has only 16 Ministries (Cabinets) and that's including the newly developed Homeland Security Department. And the americans don't like it. They complain that the government is too damn big and they want it to get smaller! But we, in Egypt, we know better then the Americans. We have 34 Cabinets and we are cool with it. Do the Americans have a Secretary of Culture? Don't think so. They could use one, those stupid french-hating ignoramuses! Souvage! Anyway, when i first heard that our government has 34 cabinet positions i was more then shocked. I thought we had 23, tops! So i went today and did some research and i found out that the number is true. We really do have 34 Minisiters, and i am not counting the 2 Ministers in charge of the Parliament Upper & Lower House affairs. But yeah, for those non-believers, here is the complete List:
- Ministry of Defense
- Ministry for Environmental Affairs
- Ministry of Treasury
- Ministry of Information
- Ministry of Military Production
- Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation
- Ministry of Investment
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Higher Education
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Manpower and Emigration
- Ministry of Public Works and Water Resources
- Ministry of Tourism
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Media
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Operational Development
- Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Scientific Research
- Ministry of National Development
- Ministry of Interior (Policing)
- Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry
- Ministry of Social Insurance and Affairs
- Ministry of Energy and Electricity
- Ministry of Civil Aviation
- Ministry of Subsidies and Internal Trade
- Ministry of Youth
- Ministry of International Co-operation
- Ministry of Planning
- Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology
- Ministry of Petroleum
- Ministry of State-owned Assets (Awkaf)
Now, i may not know much, but it seems to me that there are some ministries in that list that we can do without. The Ministry of Youth for example, which is in charge of athlete teams development and running the nationalized sporting clubs. Yeah, that's a necessary function of government! The Ministry of Civil Aviation also comes to mind, since last i checked aviation is still a mode of transportation. We could also eliminate the Ministry of Higher Education, cause we already have a ministry of education and all egyptian universities either enjoy autonomy or are privately owned and run. Or how about the Ministry Tourism? I don't know anyone who knows what those people do. The pharonic and historic artifacts and monuments fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of culture, while the Tourism Police( we actually have a tourism police people) operates under the Jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior. They don't even bring the Tourists over here, that's the travel companies job. What do they do exactly? No one knows the answer to that question! Although there are two theories that do explain why our government is this big.
Theory # 1 deals with the fact that we have certain policies in Egypt that cause Investors -foreign or domestic- to shy away from investing here and subsequently creating jobs. Policies like our Labor Law, which prohibits the employer from firing anyone that they employed, because- i shit you not- "workers are entitled to their jobs and job security"! Or like our Education policy, which gives egyptian citizens the right to a free education throughout Highschool and College. This may seem like a good idea on paper, but in reality it's application has some serious consequences on the economy, because every year colleges produce about half a million graduates, with the economy only creating between 20- 30 thousand new jobs. With the private sector not hiring because of the labor laws, and the educated elitist students shy away from iffy blue-collar jobs, the only place people can seek employment is the government. Fearing riots, the government every year hires thousands of people they don't really need, for jobs that involve doing nothing and paying them salaries that they can't possibly afford to live on. And this has been happening for over 50 years now. You wanna know how bad it got? Well, for example, the Accounting department in the egyptian state owned Railroad company has approx. 40 thousend employees. 40 thousand. What the hell are they doing with 40 thousand accounting employees? No one knows, but the conventional wisdom seems to be that it's better then having 50 employees in that department and 39, 950 egyptians added to the ranks of the unemployed. So why do we have 34 Ministries? Cause the people need jobs!
The other theory deals with the notion that the government likes being in charge of everything, because it allows it to steal from everybody. For example, we are the only country in the world with a Ministry of Subsidies and Internal Trade, the only one. That ministry's job is to control the inner-trading of goods and making sure that commodities prices remain affordable to the general population no matter what the market condition may be. They have the power to stop goods from coming into the country, from being sold in supermarkets, and from being traded between traders. For example, you can not import wheat and sell it in any way you please, cause they classify it as an essential good and the people have a "right" to get essential goods in "a price they can afford". They have to direct the percentages you can sell for your own private profit and the rest has to be sold to the government at a lower price then you bought the wheat for in order for the government to sell bread to the egyptian public at an "affordable" price. Of course, such policies don't get exacted on everybody, and you can always get someone in that Ministry to ignore the rules just this once for a Price. Hell, you pay the minister enough money and you may get yourself a permanent exemption from all the laws governing egyptian "Inner-trade". Once you figure that out , you can also understand why they have the Ministriers of Petroleum, foreign trade and telecommunication. And you thought american politicians were corrupt!
The only hope Egypt has in getting rid of corruption and improving its economy once again is to reduce the size of the government and let the market lead the economy. Egypt is an incredibly rich country that could've been a First-world country years ago if we only had some decent adminstration that cared more about the poeple and less about how much money they can loot from them. A lot of people-including me- talk about Reforms in egypt, but such reforms will never accomplish anything with government bureaucracies controlling and affecting every aspect of the egyptian economy and society. Get a smaller government in Egypt NOW ; the big government people had their chance the past 50 years and they failed us all miserably.
It's time for them to go!