FJP 2011 Program on Social justice
FJP 2011 Program on Social justice
Sunday, December 4,2011 08:51

 The absence of social justice was one of the most important causes of the January 25 revolution and achieving it was one of its most important goals. Thus our election program regards achieving social justice and ensuring that distribution of revenues from economic activity achieves justice, equality and equal opportunities, some of the most important obligations of the State. In recognition of this responsibility, the most important goals of our election program are addressing the issue of high prices, the elimination of poverty and unemployment, providing basic public services such as education, health care, transportation and other services and facilities, improving living conditions of workers and peasants, finding practical solutions to social problems like spinsterhood, street children and those with special needs, supporting adoptive families, and increasing the incomes of pensioners. In all the above, we will work to bring justice to all citizens, taking into account that the recovery of what has been looted from state funds, reforming the tax system, promoting the Zakat and Waqf (national endowment and charitable trust) systems and combating corruption and deliberate waste and squandering of sovereign resources will provide the resources necessary to achieve the desired social justice among all citizens… as follows:

First, addressing the high cost of living

-          Activating the law of protection of competition, and preventing monopolistic practices so that no group of monopolists or firms in the market can control or impose exorbitant prices of goods and services.

-          Ensuring the State's commitment to set pricing for goods and basic products when necessary and for specific periods of time, and strict monitoring of the markets to assess adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

-          Stressing and calling for commitment to quality controls to safeguard the health and safety of citizens.

-          Endeavouring to achieve self-sufficiency in basic commodities such as wheat, sugar, oil, meat and cotton.

-          Encouraging and supporting consumer protection associations to inform consumers of their rights, notably product safety and compensation for damages.

-          Activating and revitalising cooperatives and expand their activities on the national level, in the fields of cooperative housing, industry, agricultural and consumption.

-          Streamlining and adjusting the privatisation policy according to a clear policy, especially for strategic industries.

-          Promoting local production and streamlining import operations.

 Second, fighting poverty:

Our program’s main goal is to achieve social justice, eradicate poverty and provide essential health and nutrition, education, housing, transport and communications services in order to improve the quality of life of all citizens. The Zakat and Waqf system is one of the ways Islam uses to fight poverty, eliminate unemployment, achieve social and economic justice, strengthen social solidarity and cohesion and prevent accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few.

In order to face real poverty in Egypt we will:

1.       Set up a real data base on poverty in Egypt, and consider the initiative made by the World Bank, identifying the poorest one-thousand villages in Egypt, a foundation from which to build a complete public database on poverty in Egypt.

2.       Amend the tax law, with the adoption of progressive income tax and raising the limit on tax exemption on general income, in order to achieve tax justice, equity for fixed-income staff, especially government employees, who are about 5.6 million people.

3.       Activate the Zakat, Waqf and charity system in order to provide the poor with employment opportunities, financial support, training and craft tools, to help them get out of poverty and into the domains of work and production.

4.       Work on income redistribution to achieve justice and to ensure everyone has enough income to cover the minimum requirements of life. In this regard, we will work to pass a law that sets minimum and maximum wage limits, and changes the current structure of remuneration, so basic wages are the essential part of salaries, and incentives, bonuses and rewards are linked to performance.

5.       Amend the law on social insurance, to expand social security coverage to include all Egyptians, and especially beneficiaries of social security pensions.

6.       Support small projects, and provide ‘friendly’ loans, and facilitate the procedures for obtaining them.

     7.       Activate and organise the social role of businessmen.

Third, addressing unemployment:

Despite the conflicting figures of unemployment in Egypt, where the numbers indicate that it ranges between 9% and 12%, it is recognised that unemployment affects almost every household in Egypt, in both rural and urban areas, male and female citizens. The dominant feature of this is that it is unemployment of the educated. The causes of this problem include several factors, with multiple social, economic and political effects. However, we detail below, as much as necessary, our vision for the policies we will adopt in order to resolve this problem.

In the short term, we will:

1.       Create a national fund for unemployment benefits, for job-seekers; and facilitate the procedures for obtaining such benefits, by presenting a draft law to regulate this matter, taking into account the real need for a solid database on unemployment.

2.       Revitalise idle capacities existing in various sectors of national economy.

3.       Reconsider Egypt’s privatisation policy and preserve successful public projects.

4.       Work to improve investment climate and eliminate obstacles hindering the private sector.

5.       Developing and promoting public health and education services programs and initiatives, which will accommodate large numbers of graduates.

6.       Expanding vocational training programs for various professions.

In the long term, we will:

1.       Work on the creation of productive employment, achieved through a strong impetus for investment and growth in various sectors of national economy by making the banking system invest unused savings which amount to half a trillion Egyptian pounds.

2.       Increase the level of national investment by at least 30% of GDP in order to accommodate the numbers entering the labour market annually.

3.       Make effective use of foreign direct investment in creating new projects, keeping as far as possible from transfer of ownership schemes, while avoiding concentration of foreign investment in the extractive industries.

4.       Carefully select the type of technology appropriate for the development initiative in Egypt, especially in the early stages, where the focus should be on labour-intensive technologies and industries.

     5.       Restore the balance between education outputs and labour market requirements.

Fourth, improving the conditions of workers and farmers:

-          Restructuring the wages system in Egypt to set the minimum requirement for a decent life for the Egyptian family, with an annual increase enough to counter inflation, and also to set the maximum wage.

-          Amending some articles of the new insurance law to achieve transparency on insurance funds.

-          Modifying some articles of the Insurance and Pensions Act No. 79 of 1975, so the insurance system should cover all Egyptians.

-          Amending some articles of the Labour Law No. 12 of 2003, to achieve a fair balance between the interests of businesses and businessmen and between better salaries, services and working conditions for workers.

-          Amending Act No. 35 of 76 on labour unions and Law No. 12 of 1995 so as to increase ??trade union freedoms and prevent the fragmentation of trade union organisation.

-          Expanding development of vocational, industrial and technical schools to achieve excellent levels of education and professional rehabilitation covering all the requirements of the labour market.

-          Improving vocational training, and developing of artisanal training centres spread across the Republic.

-          Endeavouring to turn temporary to permanent employment or improve salaries, working conditions and contracts to grant temporary workers/employees financial stability and equality in a manner similar to permanent staff.

-          Presenting a bill to prevent the privatisation of health insurance, to provide health care, with easy access for all without prejudice to the rights acquired in the current law.

-          Increasing support for farmers, to make up for the continuing increase in the high cost of the agricultural process.

-          Facilitating the payment of indebtedness of small farmers to the Development Bank, interest-free.

-          Activating the development cycle of the Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit, and supporting small projects in agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

-          Preparing a plan to develop the role of the Agricultural Cooperative Union, and expanding the base of participation in the areas of cooperative marketing of farm produce.

-          Activating the Union of Workers in agriculture and irrigation so it should do its part in the care of workers and farmers’ interests, and adopt their demands.

Fifth, addressing the phenomenon of street children:

After accurate assessment of this issue, our idea is focused on providing ways and means to deal with the phenomenon, away from the security solution which hurts rather than helps and causes more isolation, rejection and resentment toward the community. So we intend to do the following:

-          Establish villages especially for these children, to rehabilitate them scientifically, educationally and morally, and encourage the charitable sector to contribute to the establishment and running of such villages.

-          Improve youth reform centres, so they become educational and reform institutions rather than penal institutions.

-          Address the phenomenon of divorce and family breakdown and disintegration, which is one of the main causes of the phenomenon.

-          Provide job opportunities for those who have reached a certain age.

Sixth, improving the conditions of people with special needs:

To safeguard the right of people with special needs to a decent, dignified life and that they get suitable job opportunities and housing, as well as adequate health and social care and participation in sports activities, we will:

-          Develop a unified comprehensive national plan, based on community rehabilitation in the field of disability, and coordinate efforts between the competent ministries, government and non-government bodies and civil society organisations and the media.

-          Enact the laws relevant to care of people with special needs, such as the employment of disabled persons, and allocate 5% of the workforce for people with special needs; and monitor the implementation of such laws on the ground.

-          Adopt a national plan to increase the number of factories which produce prosthetic devices, and offer these devices to the needy for free.

-          Adopt an approach of educational integration: placing children with special needs in regular schools.

-          Increase number of trade/craft schools for people with special needs in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

-          Offering special subscriptions to enable the participation of people with special needs in sports clubs.

-          Establish a union for people with special needs to nurture and defend their interests.

Seventh, improving the lives of pensioners:

-          Raise the minimum pension, with the adoption of an annual increase to match rising prices, and lift maximum pension cap.

-          Work to recover insurance funds from the National Investment Bank, and develop those independently of government loans, amounting to 430 billion Egyptian pounds, since they are private funds.

-          Grant those with early retirement insurance their full rights immediately upon retirement, including variable-pay pension and accumulated vacation allowance.

-          Ensure that the State bears the burden of health insurance fully.

-          Spread the use of automation and direct payment of pensions and the delivery of pensions to the homes of those with mobility problems and hence unable to go out.

-          Establish a union for pensioners in coordination with interested bodies, as well as encourage the availability of charities that look after their interests and adopt their demands.

-          Prepare programs that promote religious and moral values, reinforcing care-for-your-parents values through mass media, information and education programs.

 See FJP's full program for Egypt's Parliamentary Elections, 2011