EGP400m to renovate industrial zones

EGP400m to renovate industrial zones

Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal  (Photo from Centre for International Governance Innovation website)

Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal
(Photo from Centre for International Governance Innovation website)

EGP400m in government funds have recently been set aside to renovate Egyptian industrial zones. This decision was reached during a meeting held by Ahmed Galal, Egypt’s Finance Minister, and the ministers of Industry and Foreign Trade and Administrative Development.

Galal and the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade further discussed ways to help develop and simplify the country’s export process, with plans to disburse EGP3.1bn in export aid during the 2013/2014 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the Government Services Authority re-adjusted real estate prices for Egyptians living abroad in 5 cities throughout the country, while prices on industrial real estate were reviewed in newly constructed urban communities located in 17 industrial zones throughout Egypt. Prices on 48 million square meters of real estate were also reset in 10th of Ramadan City which will soon be opened up to investment.

In an attempt to further diversify sources of funding and revenue, the Ministry of Finance recently released EGP1bn worth of zero coupon bonds, with the first tranche set to be released September 16th.

In a recent statement, the Minister of Finance was quoted saying that until the county’s smartcard programme was implemented that gasoline and diesel would not be sold on the Egyptian market at unsubsidised prices. This was in response to rumors which had begun to circulate saying that the government may decide to start selling solar and diesel at cost value to those who had not yet obtained smart cards.

Galal took part Thursday in a meeting attended by the ministers of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Telecommunications and Administrative Development, to discuss ways to expedite the release of the country’s smartcard programme, utilising the technical skills available at the latter two ministries.

A decision was reached at the meeting to create a unified statistics database using national identification numbers in order to improve the administration of the country’s subsidies program, and ensure that subsidised goods are delivered to their intended recipients.  A suggestion was further put forth before the country’s cabinet calling for the establishment of a high committee to administer a national statistics database, with the goal of combining national statistics available at various government agencies and ministries.

Galal also took part via telephone in a series of meetings organised by the regional investment bank Beltone Financial, attended by investors and representatives from a number of American, European and Middle Eastern investment and sovereign funds. During the meeting Galal stated that the government currently possessed plans to inject EGP22.3bn into the economy in order to stimulate growth, saying that the time was not yet right to implement new tax increases. He added that the government was currently focusing on increasing cash instead of product subsidies, pointing out that recent aid received from Gulf countries would not serve as an excuse for government complacency and inaction.

Galal also met Saturday with the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to discuss new steps being pursued with regards to the country’s smart card and energy subsidy programs.

Committees within the Ministry of Finance, particularly the Government Services Committee, are currently prepared to put up for public auction a number of Ministry gifts, the second instance of such a bid taking place.

Mamduh Amr, Chairman of Egypt’s Tax Authority, stated that the Authority was cooperating with the Ministry of Finance to grant new tax incentives to Egypt’s industrial sector to help increase production within local factories. This comes after Galal previously announced that businessmen and vendors operating within the country’s black market would be granted tax credits and incentives to join the formal economy, including 5 years of tax exempt status.

Sami Khalaf, Director of Public Debt Management within the Ministry of Finance, stated that his division would begin employing new investment funding tools in order to help individuals and investment fund managers purchase direct IPO’s in tranches released by the ministry.

The Ministry of Finance recently changed its mission status last week from, “increasing economic growth and creating jobs in order to increase the standard of living for individuals and society”, to, “achieving a balance between financial stability, economic growth and social justice”.

Translated from Al Borsa newspaper

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