Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt finance minister says has “national mission” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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CAIRO, (Reuters) – Egypt’s new Finance Minister Samir Radwan has a “national mission” at a crucial time but has yet to be given instructions on any policies, he told Reuters on Monday.

He gave no details of what changes he may make, if any, but key among the demands of the thousands of protesters who have been calling for President Hosni Mubarak to go are higher wages, more jobs and a solution to rising prices.

Radwan faces a difficult task after a week of unprecedented anti-government protests that has all but ground the economy to a halt and plunged the financial system into chaos.

Banks and the stock exchange will be closed for a third day on Tuesday and when they do reopen they may come under pressure as investors and Egyptians seek to transfer funds out of the country.

Radwan said he would start work on Tuesday after he was sworn in to the new cabinet on Monday, replacing Youssef Boutros-Ghali. Mubarak dismissed his old cabinet on Friday.

“It is a national mission at a very critical time,” he told Reuters.

“I have not started yet, I am going to start tomorrow morning. So far there have been no instructions given to me from the president, there are no decisions regarding economic policies, it is still too early to do or say anything,” he said when asked about his plans.

Radwan, who has a PhD in economics from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, returned to Egypt in 2004 after working for 28 years at the International Labour Organisation, the U.N. agency that oversees labour standards.

In Egypt he was a consultant for the General Authority for Investment, Egypt’s government body for encouraging foreign and Egyptian investment, and the Financial Supervisory Authority.