March 23, 2016 / 11:53 AM / in 2 years

Egypt's Sisi names 10 ministers in cabinet reshuffle

CAIRO (Reuters) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi named 10 new ministers, including the finance and investment portfolios, in a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday meant to help revive an economy laid low by years of political turmoil and militant violence.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Tokyo, Japan, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Banking veteran Amr el-Garhy was appointed finance minister and Dalia Khorshid investment minister, a presidency statement said. Sisi also named four new deputy ministers - a deputy planning minister and three deputy finance ministers for treasury affairs, tax policy and fiscal policy.

Garhy and Khorshid will face the daunting task of strengthening an economy battered by an acute foreign currency crisis that has hampered Egypt’s ability to import goods and dimmed prospects for attracting direct foreign investment. The central bank devalued the pound last week.

Garhy joins the finance ministry after serving in leadership positions at various finance institutions including Qalaa Holdings, El-Ahli Bank of Qatar and EFG Hermes, one of the Middle East’s largest investment banks.

He replaces Hany Dimian, who oversaw the finance ministry during a period of modest economic recovery after years of anemic growth following the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and led to prolonged political upheaval, along with an increase in Islamist militant attacks.

Egypt’s economy grew around 4.2 percent in 2014-15 and the government has said it expects growth to remain at a similar level in the current fiscal year.

Khorshid takes on the post of investment minister after serving as vice president of Citibank for eight years, holding several posts at Orascom Construction Industries, and most recently serving as chief executive of Orascom Holdings.

Mohamed Hossam Abdelrehim, who served as Egypt’s top judge in 2014-15, was appointed justice minister, filling a role which had been vacant for 10 days since Ahmed al-Zend was sacked after making comments seen as blasphemous to Islam.

Other appointments were ministers for antiquities, the public sector, labor, irrigation, civil aviation, transport, and tourism.

The tourism industry was hard hit after a Russian airliner was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board. Islamic State militants said they planted a bomb on board the aircraft.

The civil aviation ministry also came under criticism for airport security lapses.

The key defense, interior, and foreign ministers all kept their jobs as did holders of economic portfolios such as the planning and supplies ministers.

The government will present its economic program to parliament next week.

Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Michael Georgy and Mark Heinrich

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