8 March 2009
This country has been overwhelmed by a common state of irresponsibility, so much so that it would be hard to find a responsible party who could stand up to be held to account.
A news item in the Cairo daily Al-Ahram stated that the Ministry of Electricity was discussing the assignment of a competent official at every government building who would control the consumption of electricity. Electricity consumption at government buildings has soared to a record figure of LE12 billion.
This reveals that irresponsibility has become the norm in the daily behaviour of Egyptians employed in the government and public organisations. How did it come about? It is the outcome of a poor upbringing, poor education, a low sense of morality, devious public and national media and a culture focused on promoting basic selfishness.
Other issues of public concern, and ones where the persons responsible always seem to be absent, are the disappearance of dozens of antiquities from the Egyptian Museum, irregularities in street traffic and fatal road accidents, idle infrastructure projects, collapsed buildings, unjustified soaring of goods prices, and the frustration associated with official demands such as applying for an ID card or a passport. All this is compounded by the poor standards in services—especially public transport, including rail travel, and education.
We need a sea change in attitude before we can restyle our behaviour and achieve the rationalisation and planning level necessary to efficiently handle public expenditure and available resources.