The Minister of Planning and Economic Development discusses the state general planning’s draft law before the Egyptian parliament's budget and planning committee
22 November 2021
The General Planning Law aims to develop the planning process following the latest international systems: Says Hala EL-Said
Dr. Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, discussed for the second day the draft law submitted by the government to issue the general planning law for the state before the Egyptian parliament's budget and planning committee.Dr. Hala El-Said reviewed several principles governing the law that are consistent with the directions of the planning process and what is being practiced on the ground. El-Said explained that these principles included the principle of participation, noting that this principle was taken into account during the development and modernization of Egypt's Vision 2030, in addition to the principle of decentralization, the principle of monitoring, transparency, governance, and follow-up. El-Said pointed out that Egypt is among the countries of the world that signed in 2015 a commitment to sustainable development and the UN goals, following up that the focus is currently on the settlement of the sustainable development goals, which combines two important principles that include sustainable development and decentralization.Dr. Hala El-Said said that the state’s approach and thought were different according to the latest planning law in the seventies, as the state at that time was the main controller of the development process with a socialist philosophy. “Today we are talking about the participatory approach in the development process within the state, with the participation of all concerned parties,” El-Said explained.El-Said stressed that the General Planning Law gives great importance to the role of the governorates, and emphasizes the rooting of the idea of decentralization, giving authority to the governorates, and giving a funding ceiling and specific targets to the governorates. El-Said referred to the coordination between the Local Administration Committee and the Local Administration Law and this law; for there to be consistency in thought and methodology between the two laws.
El-Said explained that the general planning law emphasizes the achievement of a set of goals, including the idea of flexibility, and the role of units in the process of transferring investment projects. El-Said stressed that for the first time, the state pumps a large number of investments into infrastructure development.El-Said indicated that this law is reflected in some practices as a result of the development of the planning process in the past period, and after the emergence of the sustainable development agenda and Egypt's Vision 2030, so these practices had to be reflected in the law, especially concerning following the participatory approach. El-Said noted that for the first time, and in coordination with the Ministry of Local Development, there is a financing equation according to which investments are distributed in cooperation with all ministries and relevant authorities to achieve the process of settling sustainable development goals at the governorate level.The Minister of Planning and Economic Development also referred to diversifying sources of funding, training all employees in ministries on it, and establishing an institutional framework for it, as there are units within the ministries of planning and finance that coordinate work between them. El-Said stressed that the program and performance plan included the proportion of green projects in the state’s investment plan, in addition to the gender dimension, asserting the importance of involving the citizen in development efforts, through the citizen’s plan and the citizen’s budget.El-Said explained that the goal is to change from the central planning found in the law to integrated, participatory planning in which all ministries and government agencies participate, with the introduction of the private sector and civil society.El-Said added that there are strategic goals in the law that include the Supreme Council for Planning, which defines the main lines and main directions of the strategic goals of the Egyptian state, with a vision, strategy, and plan for the various units serving those strategic goals.On the most important features of the new draft law, El-Said said that it is represented in the establishment of a Supreme Council for Planning and Sustainable Development headed by the President of the Republic, whose goal will be coordination and cooperation between the authorities concerned with planning and development.
The new draft law also sets a set of planning principles that reflect the constitutional entitlements stipulated in the 2014 constitution and the developments in planning science and successful international practices, including, for example, sustainability, diversity, flexibility, balanced development, participation, and openness to society, and encouraging innovation.El-Said added that the draft law enhances the ability of the ministry concerned with planning affairs to carry out the monitoring and evaluation function of plans and projects at the central and local levels.The draft law is also consistent with the articles of the constitution related to the local administration system and decentralization, as the project enables local units to prepare their development plans at different levels. It also gives it the necessary freedom and flexibility to implement these plans, and also encourages it to mobilize more financial resources and direct them to development investment projects, in addition to the fact that the draft law attached great importance to the reasons for the failure of projects funded by the public treasury.El-Said explained that the draft law specified the detailed planning methodology for preparing plans at the national, regional, and local levels while defining the roles played by all relevant parties in a clear and disciplined manner.She added that the most important characteristic of this draft law is that the process of preparing it came in coordination with all ministries and relevant authorities, foremost of which is the Ministry of Local Development, where a committee was formed to coordinate between the ministries of planning and local development to ensure consistency and coherence between the local administration law and the general planning law.El-Said reviewed the state’s efforts to develop the planning system in general, stressing that the work on issuing the state’s general planning law is paralleled by the quest and unremitting efforts of the state for comprehensive development of planning system in Egypt, led by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development in coordination with all ministries and relevant authorities. The process of developing the planning system is based on several main principles and foundations, the most important of which are: ensuring a participatory approach in the planning process with the involvement of all parties or what we call the golden triangle of development (government - the private sector - civil society), planning from the bottom up, which contributes to the precise identification to meet the needs of citizens.
El-Said added that the principles also include support for the institutional framework for the planning and follow-up process, and this began with the issuance of Prime Minister's Decision No. 1146 of 2018 to create and develop six organizational divisions in all units of the state's administrative apparatus, including the Strategic Planning and Policies Unit.El-Said explained that for the first time a fair financing formula was developed for the distribution of investments, which was prepared in coordination and cooperation with the relevant ministries and local development partners, through which local development programs and investments are distributed based on some indicators such as population density - poverty indicators - unemployment indicators - and gaps developmental.El-Said pointed to diversifying the sources of funding by encouraging the participation of the private sector in development projects and paying attention to measuring the economic feasibility of the implemented development projects, by establishing a unit for feasibility studies and partnership with the private sector and civil society in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.El-Said shed light on the localization of the sustainable development goals to maximize the benefit from the relative advantages of the Egyptian governorates and regions, and direct investments within the framework of the state’s general plan more efficiently and effectively, with a focus on the governorates that have larger development gaps according to the idea of targeting. El-Said noted the implementation of the Programs and Performance Plan methodology: which the state is expanding in its application from the fiscal year 2017/2018 plan.Dr. Hala El-Said pointed to the integration of the dimensions of environmental sustainability in development projects, by including the environmental dimension in all investment projects in the economic and social development plan of the state, where it was agreed between the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Environment to achieve 30% of investment projects for the concepts of environmental sustainability and green economy. This percentage should be increased to 50% during the next three years, to rationalize the use of resources and to contribute to achieving the sustainable development strategy.About the steps taken by the project, El-Said clarified that the draft law on general planning of the state was presented to the Cabinet in session No. 101 held on 20/12/2017.
“Some comments were made, at that time, the Cabinet decided to approve in principle the draft law with taking the observations of the Ministry of Finance and presenting it in the next session, then the project was re-presented to the Cabinet in its session No. (102) held on December 28, 2017,” El-Said explained.
El-Said added that based on the letter of the Minister of Local Development No. 1/1995 dated 9/26/2018, a committee was formed to coordinate and integrate the two draft laws on local administration and state general planning, under our Resolution No. 115 of 2018, and the committee completed its work after removing aspects of Inconsistency, coordination and integration between the two projects was achieved, and the draft law was resubmitted - in light of the amendments made through the aforementioned committee - to the Council of Ministers in its session No. (73) held on 8/1/2020.