The Price of the Egyptian Bureaucracy

Learning that officials, who are designated to solve Egypt socioeconomic challenges, are the core beneficial of keeping them superseded; should have prompted us long time ago to realize why we have been living with those challenges for decades. This is the myth of Egyptian bureaucracy; a number of old-fashion executives who have been ruling Egypt by their outdated mindset and corrupt mechanisms are, at the same time, responsible for modernizing our country.

Minimizing roads’ accidents, preventing bulldozing of historical buildings, as well as not exceeding the housing development laws are some of many obvious challenges that don’t require huge resources to tackle, but need bold leadership. Being ruled by seven million over employed government bureaucrats, who are known for their obsolete mechanisms and prolonging procedures have consistently ended up in moving the Egyptian government from one failure to another without any prior notice.

Knowing that Egypt’s socioeconomic challenges are in those bureaucrats’ hands has resulted in converting our challenges to a chronic catastrophe. In their attempts to solve our challenges with their outdated mindset, the bureaucrats tend to come up with more procedures and milestones that advance bureaucracy instead of eradicating it. Each single challenge has been expanding tremendously until either the government acknowledges that it does not have a solution for, or operates a “technical surgery” that often comes at the expense of the poor citizens.

Over and above, Egyptian bureaucrats who are the true challenge and burden of the society do not only exist among government entities, but also among the private sector. Many of the senior executives, who spend three to four decades applying their bureaucratic mindset at various government entities, are eventually moving to the private sector when they get close to retirement. They claim that they move with their in-depth knowledge, but in reality they bring the government’s malfunctioning mindset to the private firms that they move to.

Egyptian bureaucracy has obviously concluded in having more corruption. Each milestone that the bureaucrats establish is attached with a “verbal guideline solution,” initiated by them, to immediately diffuse upon paying a bribe. While, bureaucrats, who are not engaged in corruption due to non-exposure to the public, try to enhance their income by having a parallel job that often overlap with the government working hours that obviously happens at the expense of the Egyptian economy.

By time, and due to the complications of the milestones, a new community layer appeared that might be defined as “facilitators”, very well-connected personalities that don’t work at the government, but know “who is who” among the government directors and manage to overcome those milestones quite fast. The bureaucrats’ argument that nations could not live without guidelines and procedures is an “icing” that covers the hurdles that they created and continuously defend for their personal benefits.

Some argue that bureaucracy exists in all nations. It is a true argument, but not in the spread and magnitude of the Egyptian bureaucracy. The challenge that we are having in Egypt is the bureaucratic mindset and collapsed body that insists that it is capable of running and even winning a marathon! Keeping this crawling bureaucrat, who claims of being an athlete, at home, accompanied with giving him a decent income, is better off for Egypt than trusting him to compete and lose in each single performance.

Having the regulator as a beneficiary of these challenges means we will be living with these problems and others for years to come. For the last decades, everyone has been talking about bureaucracy and corruption that are taking place in Egypt, which are the major obstacle for domestic and foreign investments; but no single government has taken a tiny measure to get rid of either. It seems that everyone is comfortable with what has been practiced for decades!

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