Egypt's Military Lends $1B to Help Bolster Nation's Flailing Economy

In an attempt to generate public support, Egypt’s ruling military council has pledged to loan $1 billion to the central bank, thus proving its benefit to the country’s financial stability.

The state news network reported Wednesday that the money will be loaned in an attempt to support the country’s flailing currency.

Although from the outside this appears to be a noble idea, the military’s easy access to the $1 billion, independently held by the military outside of government banks, proves its special privileges and authoritarian rule, the The New York Times reports.

“If they lend $1 billion, it means they have got a far greater amount out there,” Egyptian economist at the University of Minnesota Ragui Assaad told The New York Times.

“They want to show that they are trying to be as helpful as they can, but it is also a reminder that they have this big autonomous budget.”

Wednesday’s press conference is yet another public relations attempt by the ruling military council to prove its dedication to economic stability, according to critics.

On Dec. 11, military-appointed Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri expressed his sorrow for the economy in a debatably overzealous display of emotions when he nearly broke into tears, telling reporters that the economy was “worse than anyone imagines.”

Then, on Dec. 22, el-Ganzouri urged the people to set aside their political differences for the sake of the economy, saying, “[…] Isn't it useful to sit down and push forward the economy a little?”

Many critics argue this is an attempt by the ruling military council to turn the public against the protests that have been going on intermittently since February, with Arab Spring activists calling for a democratic government.

The continuation of the protests show that many Egyptians remain dissatisfied with the military government’s agenda. Protesters have been urging the interim military council to resign power earlier than the projected July deadline, while the government argues it must continue with the planned timetable to avoid chaos.

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