19 January 2018

Egypt: Sisi Answers Questions of Participants At 'Story of a Homeland' Conf.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Thursday answered questions directed by participants at the "Story of a Homeland" conference during a session titled "the national projects and infrastructure".

Answering a question on "Why Egypt didn't ask the global sovereign funds to pour investments in the Egyptian infrastructure to alleviate the burden on the state's budget?, Sisi said that the Egyptian government didn't enjoy a great space of time, and such funds would take a long time, not less than three years, to study and carry out projects in the infrastructure sector. Moreover, the price that the citizens are expected to bear from such move would be very high, Sisi explained.

He made it clear that the companies that can work in establishing infrastructure in Egypt should work in a free market. That means if such companies were assigned to set up a 500-kilometer long railway line from Sokhna to New Alamain through the New Administrative capital, the price of the ticket would certainly be unaffordable for the citizens, Sisi noted.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said he told the government that he didn't have any worries that the media outlets wouldn't cover the national projects as it should be, noting that he was convinced that it is much better to rely on the word of mouth of those working in these projects among their fellows and relatives to market for such projects.

He assured the people that the investment bodies wanting to invest in the infrastructure in Egypt would never directly deal with the citizens, but the government.

For example, those who want to construct a power plant would never take its toll from the people, but rather it would contract with the Ministry of the Electricity, which in turn would pay them for the electricity produced in the national power grid, Sisi explained.

From her part, Planning Minister Hala el Saeed said that attracting foreign investments into Egypt entailed some reforms, especially in the infrastructure sector, which was exhausted from the population growth and lack of maintenance and investments in the period between 2011-2014.

Saeed highlighted the obvious improvement the state has recently witnessed in the infrastructure, adding that such efforts were seen as a result of partnership between the government and the private sector.

Acting Prime Minister and Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli stressed that Egypt had no option but increasing the metropolitan areas due to the rapid population growth, estimated at 2.5 million people per year.

Once come to office, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi directed the government to speed up the pace of carrying out the housing projects, planned by Egyptian experts in previous years, Madbouli said.

"What has been accomplished in this short time is a miracle by all means," the minister expounded.

Foreign ambassadors believed that implementing the first phase of the New Administrative Capital as scheduled was impossible, but after that they started asking for land lots to relocate their embassies there, he added.

Madbouli said in four years, up to 600,000 residential units in the social housing program was established, rather than 100,000 units to eliminate the slums.

Acting Prime Minister and Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli stressed that Egypt had no option but increasing the metropolitan areas due to the rapid population growth, estimated at 2.5 million people per year.

Once come to office, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi directed the government to speed up the pace of carrying out the housing projects, planned by Egyptian experts in previous years, Madbouli said.

"What has been accomplished in this short time is a miracle by all means," the minister expounded.

Foreign ambassadors believed that implementing the first phase of the New Administrative Capital as scheduled was impossible, but after that they started asking for land lots to relocate their embassies there, he added.

Madbouli said in four years, up to 600,000 residential units in the social housing program was established, rather than 100,000 units to eliminate the slums.

Over the past three years, the government has been constructing more than 14 new cities, including the New Administrative Capital, Acting Prime Minister and Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouli revealed.

During a session titled " National Projects and Infrastructure" at the "Story of a Homeland" conference, which enters its second day, Madbouli said that about 23 cities, dating back to the 1990s, were revamped.

Some 7 million people are expected to move to the newly-established cities, the minister added.

During a global conference on Egypt, the World Bank president described as a successful model the social housing project and sanitation projects which are being implemented in villages, Madbouli noted.

President Sisi directed facilitating measures related to real estate registration, the housing minister said, adding the government drafted over the past few days the first law to register real estate in new cities.

Concerning the development of Downtown Cairo, Madbouli said that the ministry has drawn up a blueprint in collaboration with the Faculty of Urban and Regional Planning on this regard.

Different segments of the society should be represented in case of constructing any planned city, he asserted.

These new cities should include social housing units, youth housing units and units for people with middle-income, he added.

Amer, CBE governor, also said the surplus in the balance of payment was up to dlrs 5 billion in 2011, but it currently hit dlrs 25 billion, asserting the international experts' opinions that Egypt is the first destination for investments in the emerging markets.

President Sisi has given directives on the necessity of working on the right track and taking into consideration the citizens' interests regardless of some furious reactions.

Commenting on Amer's remarks, the president said in the wake of July 3, 2013, an economic study office has been working on assessing Egypt's conditions for six months and it has revealed a gap in the state's budget worth dlrs 18 billion annually over a period of five years.

Sisi thanked Arab countries which have been extending assistance worth dlrs 90 billion over a period of four years.

With regard to prices control at the markets, President Sisi said that state is working to provide enough supplies that could meet the peoples' demands to force traders to respect the market mechanisms and curb prices hikes.

The state plans to build 100,000 greenhouses for vegetables and fruits in the coming three years, he added.

Also, President Sisi revealed that the state intends to allocate 40,000 feddans for setting up fisheries.

A fund of approximately EGP 25 to 30 billions is needed to develop even one lake for fish production, Sisi noted.

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