22 January 2018 04:30 PM

Harvest of Economy – 2017

Wednesday، 27 December 2017 - 03:15 PM

The Egyptian economy witnessed positive developments during the year 2017, thus sending strong messages of hope that we are on the right path.

 

Indicators of the Egyptian economic performance during the fiscal year 2016-2017 showed a remarkable growth in all sectors thanks to the support made by the brave reforms steps adopted by the government.

 

When the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced its decision to liberalize the Egyptian pound exchange rate on November 03, 2016, the Egyptian government and the international financial institutions stressed that Egypt is capable to shoulder impacts of the local currency floating process, restore the economy to the path of growth again and stand in face of a set of challenges that hinder its development, most notably the rise of the budget deficit and trade balance as well as the sharp decline in the international cash reserves.

 

The reform steps undertaken by the government to support the Egyptian economy were represented in:

 

1- Minimizing energy subsidy.

 

2- Application of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

 

3- Cancellation of maximum limits on cash deposit and withdrawals for companies importing non-essential products.

 

4- Establishment of the National Payments Council:

Presidential decree establishing national council for payments

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Tuesday 14/2/2017 issued decree no. 89 for 2017 to establish the national council for payments.



The president, according to the official gazette, will chair the council.

The council will be tasked with reducing the use of the banknotes outside the banking system, developing the national payment systems, achieving the financial inclusion and increasing the tax proceeds.

 

Initiatives to support the Egyptian economy

During 2017, several innovative and constructive initiatives have been launched for facilitating access to small and large investors, on the following:

1-     “Start Egypt” Initiative

British Ambassador in Egypt John Casson launched a new initiative on 23/11/2017 under the title “Start Egypt”. The initiative intends to provide support for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 


“Start Egypt” was done in cooperation with the Egyptian company Flat 6 Labs and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). It will last for three years, benefiting 200 companies. The value of the supporting initiative is $2.6 million.

The initiative aims at supporting the Egyptian economy as the private sector and entrepreneurship are the real future for Egyptians. In addition, the projects having tangible social effects, such as energy and education.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs can apply via the initiative’s official website, startegypt.com.

2- “Fekretek Sherketek” (your idea is your company)

Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr launched on 23/9/2017 an initiative to support new companies and boost the entrepreneurship climate in Egypt.


The initiative, called “Fekretek Sherketek” (your idea is your company), is the first of its kind in Egypt to enhance the entrepreneurship climate in Egypt in participation with EFG-Hermes and the United Nations Development Program – UNDP.

3-    "Establish Your Own" Service

The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation has provided a service called "Establish Your Own" as the first step in building a small or large economic entity where networks became intertwined after incorporation. Networks exist between the company and its clients, between the company and its employees, and in the entity itself there are relations arose between the partners.

The service is provided through the website of the Ministry and the General Authority for Investment, at the following link:


Economic decisions and laws issued or amended in 2017

In 2017, a new investment law is issued and several laws already in place have been amended to revive investment and economy in Egypt:

1- Value Added Tax (VAT) Law

The draft was published in the state's official gazette after it was approved by the House of Representatives on 7/9/2017.

Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy issued in 7/3/2017 the Value Added Tax (VAT) law to put into effect after it was approved by the House of Representatives.

The VAT includes (79) articles, including a number of facilitations for businessmen.

The law gives companies subject to the law three months as a transitional period in order to adapt to the new law with no fines whatsoever due to delay in paying the new tax.

The new law also revokes law no. 11/1991 on the general tax on sales.

The third article of the law stipulates that the name of the Sales Tax Authority will be replaced wherever used in laws, decisions or regulations with the Egyptian Tax Authority.

According to the fourth article, whoever subject to the new tax must pay the due sales tax in the due dates and must keep the business records for five years hereafter.

The fourth article, meanwhile, warned that whoever breaches these provisions will be considered evader.

The fifth article automatically exempts those with total sales of less than EGP 500,000 a year from paying the tax unless submitted a demand within 60 days to be included in the tax.

Whoever exempted, according to the article, has to present a recent tax return and other tax returns if due within 30 days after the law is applied.

They must also pay due taxes for six months hereafter and must keep the business records for five years since the law is applied.

According to the sixth article, the value of sales tax previously paid shall be deducted before applying the law and any mistakenly paid taxes shall be refunded.

The Executive Regulations of the Value Added Tax Law is published by the Finance Ministry’s official website:


2- The new Investment Law

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified on 30/5/2017 the investment law no.72 of 2017, after it was passed by the House of Representatives.

The new law covers both domestic and foreign investments. The new law is expected to boost investments and provide more incentives to investors looking to put money in Egypt.

The cabinet approved the executive statute of the investment law on 25/10/2017.

Full text of the Investment law on the following link



The executive regulations of the law on the following link


3- Income Tax Law

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified a new law amending the income tax law no. 91/2005 and the stamp duty law no. 111/1980.

 

Under the new law no. 76/2017, the collection of the stamp duty on stock exchange transactions, which was imposed as per law no. 53/2014, will be effective as of May 17, 2020.

However, the stock exchange transactions for both buyers and sellers shall be taxed on the total purchase value, according to the law.

The decree is published in the official gazette.

 

4- Commercial Register law

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued on Sunday a decree to amend some provisions of the Commercial Register Law no. 34 of 1976.

 

Under the new amendment, only Egyptians will be allowed to be recorded in the commercial register after obtaining necessary approvals.

5- Industrial Licensing Law

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has signed a decree No. 15 of 2017 for laying a law on the Industrial Licensing Law aims at easing measures for obtaining licenses for the industrial establishments, after it is approved by the House of Representatives.

 

Under the new law, the Industrial Development Authority is the sole body authorized to issue industrial licenses, cutting short the period to get a license.

 

The law is a part of a strategy to improve the industrial investment climate and support the local industry to boost exports.

6- Amend rules regulating EGX

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued a decree to amend rules regulating the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) administrative and financial affairs.

 

Under the decree no. 274/2017, the prime minister shall name the chairman of EGX and his deputy. The chairman may stay in his office for only one more term.

 

Also, the president decreed the board of directors shall comprise the chairman, his deputy, a representative of the Central Bank of Egypt and three members representing brokerage firms.

 

They shall be elected alongside a representative of the custodian banks and two others to act on behalf of the listed non-stock brokering companies. Also, two experts shall be named by the prime minister to join the board.

 

The board members, including the chairman and his deputy, shall serve under this presidential order for five years.

7- Establishing the Golden Triangle Economic Zone

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued a decision establishing the Golden Triangle Economic Zone.

 

As per the decision, the Safaga-based zone will be under the supervision of the premier.

 

The zone will be responsible for running state-owned lands and properties, prescribed in the presidential decree no. 341 of 2017 on establishing the Golden Triangle Economic Zone, without the need to take any legal action, according to the ministerial decision.

 

8- The Law regulating the activities of the gas market

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued law No. 196 / 2017 on regulating the activities of the gas market, after the approval of the House of Representatives.

 

The first article of the law stipulates that the new law will not be applicable on the petroleum concession agreements.

 

All entities operating in the gas field under the law will have to submit papers to the agency of the implementing the gas market activities to get permissions for resuming activities.

 

A general authority, to be dubbed "the agency for regulating gas market activities", will be established with a headquarters based in Cairo.

 

The agency aim is to regulate all activities of the gas market and monitor it with a view to securing the gas production, the quality of the services as well as protecting the interests of investors and customers. It also aims at luring more investments to the gas market.

 

 

One year following CBE’s bold decision on foreign exchange liberalization

 

Egypt has started reaping the fruits of the relentless efforts exerted by the government within the framework of the economic reform plan.

 


Following are a number of positive economic indicators one year after the bold decision taken by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on November 03, 2016, to liberalize the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound before the US dollar as well as Arab and foreign currencies:

 

1- USD 80 billion foreign currency inflows.

2- Stabilization of US dollar exchange rate at EGP 17.60 during past months.

3- USD 5.3 billion tourism revenues during nine months, up by 212%.

4- USD 10 billion increase in Egyptian banks’ foreign exchange reserves.

5- Deficit in Egypt’s transactions with external world fell by USD 4.2 billion.

6- USD 8 billion Egypt’s foreign direct investments (FDIs).

7- USD 19 billion cash flows from treasury bills and bonds.

8- Unemployment rate down by 1%.

9- GDP grew by 5% in Q4-FY.

10- Industrial production up by 33%.

11- 3.3 million cubic meters Egypt’s natural gas production volume per month

12- 32.850 thousand megawatts Egypt’s electricity production

13- Incoming tourism movement to Egypt up by 55% in Q3-2017 to record 2.3 million tourists compared to 1.5 million tourists during the same period of 2016.

14- Money transfers of Egyptians working abroad hit a record over 12 months (since floating exchange rate) recording 24.2 billion dollars from November 2016 to October 2017.

 

Visits by IMF mission to Egypt in 2017

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) paid two visits to Egypt during 2017 to review and discuss the economic reform program, where IMF mission praised Egypt’s efforts to improve the Egyptian economy and apply bold reforms.

 

- First Review: On April 30, 2017, IMF Executive Board approved disbursement of the second tranche of IMF’s USD-12-billion-loan to Egypt with the value of nearly USD 1.25 billion.

- Second Review: On October 26, 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief for Egypt Subir Lall termed as "good" the track of Egypt's economic reform program, noting that the "clear-cut" measures taken by the government at the level of politics started to bear fruit, citing the recent market confidence, growth rate and reduction in state budget deficit. He also said foreign currency reserve has reached to its highest levels since 2011. Lall also termed CBE's decisions on interest rates as "appropriate" so as to achieve inflation reduction.

 


A Certificate of Confidence by IMF

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s staff team and the Egyptian authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on the second review of Egypt’s economic reform program, the IMF said in a press release.

 

The country's reform program is supported by the IMF’s SDR 8.597 billion (about $12 billion) arrangement.

 

The staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board, it said.

 

Completion of the review would make available SDR [1,432.76 million] (about US$2 billion), bringing total disbursements under the program to about US$6 billion.

 

The IMF's team led by Subir Lall, who visited Cairo from October 25 to November 9, said the staff-level agreement on the second review reaffirms the Egyptian authorities’ commitment to their reform program supported by the IMF.

 

Egypt’s economy continues to perform strongly, and reforms that have already been implemented are beginning to pay off in terms of macroeconomic stabilization and the return of confidence, the statement said, citing Lall's words.

 

While the reform process has required sacrifices in the short term, seizing the current moment of opportunity to transform Egypt into a dynamic, modern, and fast-growing economy will improve the living standards and increase prosperity for all Egyptians, it added.

 

“Egypt’s growth picked up during fiscal year 2016/17, with GDP rising by 4.2 percent compared to the projected 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the current account deficit narrowed in dollar terms, supported by the increase in non-oil exports and tourism receipts while non-oil imports declined. Reflecting increased investor confidence, portfolio investments into Egypt reached $16 billion this year and foreign direct investment rose by 13 percent.”

 

Meanwhile, the press release noted that the headline inflation appears to have peaked in July and has been declining since then, supported by the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) prudent monetary policy stance.

 

The budget performance was broadly in line with program projections with a primary deficit of 1.8 percent of GDP, it indicated. “However, the overall deficit exceeded projections by 0.4 percent of GDP and reached 10.9 percent of GDP, mainly on account of higher than expected interest payments.”

 

Reflecting the overall strong policy framework and credibility of the authorities’ program, foreign exchange reserves increased significantly to record levels, it noted.

 

“The CBE remains committed to achieve its goal of reigning in inflation which is expected to decline to about 13 percent in the quarter ending December of 2018. Its monetary policy framework is underpinned by a flexible exchange rate regime which has eliminated chronic foreign exchange shortages and the parallel market,” it pointed out.

 

“The government’s aim to achieve a primary surplus in the current fiscal year will help achieve Egypt’s program objective of putting government debt on a firmly downward trajectory over the medium term.”

 

According to the IMF team, this will reduce interest expenditures and create budgetary space for public infrastructure and well-targeted social spending.

 

The mission also strongly supports the authorities’ plans to strengthen public financial management and fiscal transparency, including through enhanced monitoring of state-owned enterprises and publication of financial statements.

 

“The government is spearheading a comprehensive and ambitious agenda of structural reforms to unlock Egypt's growth potential. The reform plan aims to create well-paying jobs to meet the rapidly growing population by paving the way for increased private sector-led investment, productivity growth, and enhanced competition.”

 

“Reducing unemployment, specifically among Egypt’s youth, and integrating more women into the labor force are keys to Egypt’s economic liftoff and are the strongest and most sustainable form of social protection.”

 

The team added that they strongly welcome the authorities’ commitment to continue its efforts to expand childcare services to promote women participation in the labor market.

 

“Meanwhile, we also support the authorities’ efforts to strengthen social measures through the expansion of the “Takafol and Karama” programs which now reach 2 million families, and enhancing data collection to improve targeting and ensure that the subsidies reach the most vulnerable.”

 

The statement went on to say that Egypt’s banking sector continues to remain liquid, profitable, and well capitalized.

 

“The CBE continues to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory framework for the banking sector including through implementing Basel rules. We also support the authorities’ aim to promote financial inclusion,” it said.

 

Social Protection Measures

 

In parallel with the crucial economic reform measures, the State has taken into consideration the importance of alleviating burdens on citizens through adopting the protective measures and promoting the social solidarity programs.




President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced a number of decisions that aimed to protect the poor and vulnerable people from economic reform impact. The decisions were announced during the “Egyptian Family's iftar,” during the holy fasting of Ramadan 2017.

 

Here are the decisions:

 

1- Raising the ration cards subsidy from EGP 21 to EGP 50, with a 140 percent increase (estimated at EGP 85 billion of the State budget).

2- Increasing the insurance premiums by 15 percent, with a minimum of EGP 150 for 10 million pensioners, which is estimated at nearly EGP 200 billion of the State budget.

3- Increasing the value of cash subsidy ‘Takaful’ and ‘Karama’ programs by EGP 100 monthly for 750,000 beneficiaries, which is estimated at nearly LE 8.25 billion of the State budget.

4- Adopting a periodic bonus of 7 percent for the Civil Service Law employees with a minimum of EGP 65, and an exceptional premium of 7 percent and a minimum of EGP 130.

5- Approving a periodic bonus for non-respondents to the Civil Service Law of 10 percent with a minimum of EGP 65, as well as an exceptional premium of 10 percent and a minimum of EGP 130.

6- Raising the tax exemption level and approving a tax deduction for low income groups with a total value of EGP 7 billion to EGP 8 billion.

8- Stopping the tax on agricultural land for three years to ease the tax burden on the sector. 

 

International Reports on Egypt Economy in 2017

 

1- World Bank Egypt’s Economic Outlook- October 2017


Macroeconomic conditions are showing signs of stabilization following the liberalization of the exchange rate. Important fiscal reforms are underway, with energy subsidy cuts and containment of the wage bill contributing to fiscal consolidation.

However, inflation has spiked to record high levels with negative implications on social conditions. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has tightened monetary policy and the Government has increased spending on social protection to mitigate the impact on living conditions.

Recent Developments

Egypt’s economy is estimated to have grown at 4.1 percent in FY2016/17 (July/June), slightly lower than the 4.3 percent real growth achieved in the previous year. Following two quarters of slowdown in growth, economic activity is picking up, driven primarily by the resilient private and (to a lesser extent) public consumption, as well as by an uptick in investments with net exports contributing positively for the first time in two years, albeit still marginally.

The liberalization of the exchange rate in November 2016 has eased shortages in foreign currency, eliminated the parallel market and kick-started an improvement in Egypt’s external accounts.

The Balance of Payments (BoP) achieved a US$13.7 billion surplus (5.8 percent of the year’s projected GDP); 90 percent of which was realized only following the November exchange rate floatation. This compares to a BoP deficit of US$2.8 billion (-0.8 percent of GDP) a year earlier, with the large improvement in FY2016/17 resulting from a narrowing current account deficit (albeit in absolute terms only), and a surge in capital and financial inflows.

The current account deficit fell to US$15.6 billion in FY2016/17 from US$19.8 billion a year earlier, due to higher oil and non-oil exports, contained imports, an uptick in tourism and remittances. The capital and financial account jumped to US$29 billion in FY2016/17, from US$21.2 billion due to increased external borrowing as well as the rise in net FDI (reaching 3.3 percent of projected GDP, from 2.1 percent a year earlier) as well as a surge in portfolio inflows that were encouraged by Egypt’s improved outlook and attractive returns on EGP-denominated assets.

The exchange rate adjustment has helped in freeing up resources to pay for part of the accumulated arrears to international oil companies, which currently stand at US$2.3 billion in end-June 2017 down from US$3.5 billion in end-2016. Net international reserves spiked to a record level of US$36 billion (7.5 months of merchandise imports) in end-August 2017, compared to US$19 billion in end-October 2016.

2- International Companies expand businesses in Egypt during 2017

Several international companies have announced their plans to expand their production in Egypt and use the Arab state as a regional manufacturing platform against the background of the economic reform program and economic developments in Egypt over the past months, a report issued by the Oxford International Economic Group said.

For example, Mars, a producer of Mars chocolate and other sweets, announced plans to invest approximately $ 42 million in Egypt over the next year and a half by raising its production in Egypt to 80%, up 30% from its current rate. In mid-2013, the company expanded its production line in Egypt at a cost of approximately $ 83 million.


Beside Mars, many international companies announced their expansion plans such as Unilever Egypt whose regional manager in Egypt Ashraf Al-Bakri said last April that the pound flotation has encouraged the company to double its assets and investments in Egypt, stressing that these bold decisions have made Egypt a regional export center.

GE’s Board of Directors Chairman, Ayman Khattab announced that his company plans to double its investments during the year. Khattab pointed out that Egypt is a huge market that needs major projects and investments in health, energy and electricity.

3- Egypt is the world’s second fastest growing tourism market

 

Egypt is the second-fastest-growing tourist destination globally, according to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), The Telegraph reported.



Having Egypt and Tunisia in the top ten seems to “indicate their ability – against the odds – to bounce back after a string of terrorist attacks,” The Telegraph’s Gavin Haines said.

 

4- Bloomberg's Climate scope report: Egypt second fastest country making transition to clean energy

Egypt is ranked second among countries that have made the most progress since last year in transitioning to clean energy, according to the latest Climate scope annual report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.




Climate scope, which assesses 71 countries in emerging markets on their progress made towards clean energy transition and reports on clean energy investment, said that the most populous Arab nation has risen to 19th place, jumping 23 places from last year and becoming the second Arab nation in the top 20 after third-placed Jordan.

“[Egypt’s] significant progress was largely due to the surge in clean energy investment to some $745 million in 2016 from almost nothing in the preceding year,” the report reads.

The Climate scope report said that “Egypt has also improved its policies and enabling environment for renewable energy in the last year.”

Egypt ranks sixth among African countries, preceded by South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Rwanda and Uganda in sixth, eighth, 11th, 16th and 17th places respectively.

Indicators of Egypt’s economic performance in 2017

1- S&P upgrades Egypt’s outlook to positive from stable

International credit rating Standard and Poor's (S&P) upgraded on Friday Egypt's outlook to positive from stable, while maintaining Egypt’s sovereign credit rating at B-.




The rating agency said Egypt outlook revised to positive on the back of rising reserves and strengthening economic growth.

 

S&P said that the positive outlook reflects potential upgrade over next year if Egypt continues to implement reforms to support investment and growth.

 

It maintained the B- sovereign credit rating, meanwhile, reflecting wide fiscal and external deficits, high public debt, and low income levels.

 

This is the first upgrade to Egypt's rating since May 2015.

 

S&P expected political stability in Egypt to continue under president SISI, while not seeing a significant policy changes in run-up to elections in early 2018.

 

Egypt’s economic growth increased in the last quarter of fiscal year 2016/2017 to 4.8 percent, while its foreign reserves peaked in October to reach $36.702 billion, compared with $36.535 billion at the end of September, surpassing pre-2011 Revolution levels.

 

2- Unemployment rate down 11.9 percent in Q3-2017

 

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that unemployment rate during the third quarter of 2017 dropped 11.9 percent, compared to 12.6 percent during the same period last year.


In a statement, CAPMAS said the number of jobless people reached 3.5 million of the total workforce, with an increase of 0.5 percent compared with the second quarter of the same year.

 

The workforce during the third quarter of 2017 reached 29.5 million persons, with an increase of 1 percent of the total workforce during the second quarter of 2017, the statement added.

3- Egypt tops list of Africa, ME at 2017 Global Services Location Index

Egypt topped the list of African countries and Middle East region at 2017 A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index, which measures the ability of countries to provide outsourcing services efficiently that helps companies to take decisions to invest outside their country.





According to the report, Egypt advanced two places from last year that ranks 14th in the world. The government decision to allow the Egyptian pound to float against the dollar and subsequent depreciation gave Egypt's competitiveness a boost.

The country graduates approximately 500,000 students per year, with 10 percent in IT-related fields and other fields related to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which makes Egypt one of the most qualified labor-saving countries, the report pointed out.

4- 13 Egyptian Startups Just Made Forbes' Top 100 in the Middle East

5- Egypt, Côte D'Ivoire and Togo lead Africa on development progress

Egypt, Côte D’Ivoire and Togo have led Africa in rates of progress on human development in the past five years, according to the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Index of African Governance.

Côte D’Ivoire saw its biggest gains in improved educational system management, Egypt in improved basic health services, and Togo in access to antiretroviral treatment.

 

National Projects launched in 2017

 

1- Start of production at northern Alexandria gas fields

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi witnessed via video conference a ceremony marking the start of natural gas production at northern Alexandria gas fields.




The president also expressed thanks to the two foreign companies operating in the project for their efforts that were crowned by launching the project's first phase eight months ago.

 

In the same regard, Sisi directed officials to expedite work in order to start the second phase before 2019.

 

Meanwhile, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek el Molla said this project reflects the international partners' confidence in Egypt's security and political stability as well as in the government's economic reforms.

 

2- Inauguration of several development projects in Qena

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi attended the opening of several development projects in Qena governorate.



Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi along with other senior officials were present at the opening.

 

Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said President Sisi inaugurated several projects in Qena, including the reclamation of 43,000 feddans in Marashda desert area of Qena and the completion of infrastructure works for 21,000 in Farafra within the 1.5 million feddans reclamation project.

 

The president also inaugurated a number of modern silos, marking the start of the wheat harvest season, as well as a train station in Aswan, and bridges in Sohag, he added.

 

3- Inauguration of major national projects in Damietta

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated several major national projects in Damietta governorate.





The president was accompanied by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Defense

and Military Production Minister Sedqi Sobhi, as well as a number of ministers and top statesmen.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Head of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) Mohamed Erfan said all major national projects that were set up from February 15, 2016, till May 20, 2016, have been reviewed to ensure their financial, administrative and technical integrity.

 

Erfan said that 1,705 projects, at a total cost of 285 billion pounds, were reviewed. Erfan underlined that 179 projects were reviewed before being opened, adding that 140 projects were approved and 39 others were postponed. He added that 1,526 projects were referred to parties concerned to inaugurate them.

 

Major General Essam el Kholy, the director of the mega projects department, said that 38 percent of 64 social housing projects have been completed in 19 governorates. Work is underway to implement the remaining 62 percent in nine governorates, Kholy added.

 

About 16,896 residential units have so far been implemented in four governorates, he said, noting that those represent 12 percent of a middle-class housing project.

 

The remaining 88 percent are being implemented in nine governorates, Kholy added. For his part, Health Minister Ahmed Emadeldin Rady underlined the most important projects carried out in the health sector.

 

As for Hepatitis C virus (HCV), the Health Ministry noted that in 2008, the demographic survey showed that 30% of people infected with Hepatitis C virus in Egypt had received unsafe treatment for schistosomiasis (bilharzia) via poorly sterilized glass syringes.

 

In 2015, there were 350,000 persons on waiting lists for the treatment of Hepatitis C, he said, adding in August 2016, there were no waiting lists in all Egyptian governorates.

 

The price tag of the imported HCV drug is 10,600 pounds for a course of treatment extending for three months, the minister underlined. However, this cost decreased by 85% after the use of Egyptian HCV drug that costs just 1,527 pounds, the minister said.

 

Director of the military engineers department Major General Hassan Abdel Shafie said 186 medical facilities have been renovated and built in line with directives of President Sisi.

Five new health care projects are being inaugurated today in five governorates, Abdel Shafie said. One such project is a Damietta Military Hospital in New Damietta city, he said, noting that it will serve military personnel and civilians in the Delta city and adjacent areas.

4- Ghalyoun fish farming project in Kafr el Sheikh

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inspected Ghalyoun fish farming project in Kafr el Sheikh.





Sisi listened to head of the National Company for Fishery and Aquaculture (NCFA) Hamdy Badeen who presented a blow-by-blow report on the project.

 

Badeen said that Ghalyoun land is not suitable for any kind of cultivation and that residents of the governorate either work in hunting or cultivation.

 

Ghalyoun area which covers 4,000 feddans, has been divided into three farmlands including one for freshwater fish, another for shrimps production and a fishery, Badeen added.

 

Sisi also made an inspection tour to the fish ponds in Ghalyoun fish farming project and listened to its Production Manager, Major General Tareq Issa, who presented a blow-by-blow report on it.

 

Sisi posed for a photo-op with fishermen working in the fish farm. Then, he inspected the fish production factory of the Ghalyoun fish farming project and listened to detailed explanation on its working system.

 

President Sisi inspected the development research lab that has been established on 600 square kilometers. It is divided into three sections, including one for fish diseases, another for chemical analysis and one for laboratory equipment.

 

The development research lab is designed in accordance with international standards and environmental requirements in order to be internationally accredited by getting the ISO/IEC 17025 certification.

 

It is equipped with the latest international machinery to ensure the quality of fish, shrimps and nutritive forage. The lab ranked no 12 at international level and is registered at Guangzhou University for science in China.

 

The lab is meant also to serve the Armed Forces and the civil society through securing food as well as contributing in the development of the scientific research in the fish farming field.

 

5- Inauguration of Al Manarah International Conference Center

 

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated the International Conference Center in the Fifth Settlement district of New Cairo.




Sisi was keen to let a group of youth raise the curtains on the memorial plaque of the center.

 

Defense Minister General Sedki Sobhi and Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy attended the inauguration.

 

After the inauguration of Al Manarah International Conference Center, Sisi listened to a detailed explanation on the structure of the center which is established on an area of 10,000 cubic meters.

 

The center has a parking area of 18.500 meters, 11 meeting rooms, a press center along with a theater and audio-visual media facilities. He made a tour at the various facilities at the center.   

 

6- Launching several projects in new administrative capital

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived in the new administrative capital ahead of launching several projects.




The new projects' launch coincides with the 44th anniversary of the October War Victory.

 

Sisi was received by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Defense and Military Production Minister Sedqi Sobhi and Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy.

 

7- Pumping gas from Zohr field to national grid launched

Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek el Molla said that pumping natural gas began from Zohr field to the new station in Port Said's el Gameel area where the gas is treated and pumped to the national natural gas network.





The initial production rate from gas will reach 350 million cubic feet daily.

 

Molla said that the first phase of the project will be finalized in June 2018 where the production will hit more that one billion cubic feet daily, said a statement issued by the Petroleum Ministry.

 

This will contribute to achieving self-sufficiency from natural gas and reduce importation, he said.

 

The second phase of the project will be finalized at the end of 2019 where production is expected to reach 2.7 billion cubic feet daily, Molla underscored.

 

8- Benban solar energy project

At the end of 2017, Benban solar energy project in Aswan launched the trial operating.



This giant project, which would provide energy for more than 350,000 persons and create more than 6,000 job opportunities, aims at establishment of 40 electricity production units with the use of solar energy with a productive capacity of 50 megawatts per unit.

This 2000MW projects reflects the country's great attention to development of the Upper Egypt.


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