June 17, 2014 - 12:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb was sworn in on Tuesday, June 17 at the head of a new government that retained key economic and security ministers but created a new investment post to attract funds to an economy racked by years of political turmoil, according to Reuters.
Mehleb, followed by his ministers, took the oath of office in front of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who re-appointed him after Sisi won a landslide election victory in May.
Trying to project a sense of urgency and purpose in the new government's mission, the early-rising former military president had summoned the ministers to a palace in northern Cairo at 6 a.m. for a ceremony that began promptly, an hour later.
His prime minister echoed the need to move quickly, promising an energetic, focused and better coordinated regime.
"There is no time for rest," Mehleb was quoted as saying on the front page of the state’s Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
"We will start our work from the early hours of the morning as there is a strict plan and new technique of work to tie all the ministers to work together and not work as if they were isolated islands," he added.
Egypt's economy is forecast to grow at just 3.2 percent in the fiscal year that begins on July 1, well below levels needed to create sufficient jobs for a rapidly growing population of 86 million and to ease widening poverty.
The turmoil of the last three years, when two presidents were overthrown, hundreds of people were killed and tourism and investment were battered, have contributed to high unemployment and a widening budget deficit.
The government will also have to tackle the legacy of decades of corruption and red tape and a costly subsidy system - fuel subsidies alone cost the state nearly $19 billion a year.
Mehleb said ministers will provide him with a weekly plan that he will review at meetings with his cabinet, which he said was chosen after interviews with more than 90 candidates for the various ministerial portfolios.
The new cabinet includes 34 ministers, of whom 14 were newly appointed. Just four of the ministers are women.