16 November 2018 01:38 PM

Sisi: Gov't seeks to secure market needs, reduce imports

Wednesday، 15 August 2018 - 04:42 PM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi stressed on Wednesday 15/8/2018 the government's keenness on securing needs of the local market and reducing Egypt's import bill.

Producing needed products will save hard currency and, hence, contribute to currency stability, in addition to creating jobs for youths, he said.

During the inauguration of a cement and marble industrial complex in the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef, the President said the project will secure about 2,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.

The marble complex will create 3,000 jobs in Upper Egypt, he added.

Concerning building the marble complexes, President Sisi said "I told them to avoid traditional ways because this will take 3 to five years to open the project and there is no time for this."

The President spoke about the ailments of the public enterprise sector in Egypt, pledging to improve its performance and cure its woes.

He said there are more than 120 public enterprise sector companies and all problems will be solved to develop these companies.

These companies should add to the Egyptian economy, he added said.

He said even if the public enterprise sector needs EGP 150 billion to be developed, there is no problem. This issue should be solved to ditch this heavy legacy, he also said.

President Sisi said the construction of the marble and cement complex was planned to take about 36 months and it was a challenge to finalize it in one year and half.

He added that the project has six production lines, vowing that the complex will produce the best kinds of cement in Egypt.

He added that the complex will sell stakes at the bourse to be part of the state's achievements.

President Sisi said there are ample quantities of marble in the Egyptian quarries, but this sector has not been organized yet.

Soothing fears about the environmental impact of new industrial projects that are being implemented nationwide, the president said he ordered the Environment Ministry to follow up the status of all factories' filters because if they are not changed every now and then, the factories will become a source of environment pollution.

He underlined that factories should be established in accordance with health and environmental standards.

He noted that the complex will use new means for producing marble away from the traditional ones.

President Sisi said waste in the marble industry stand at about 5 to 10 percent in developed countries, but in Egypt this number stands at 60 percent.

The new complex will avoid such waste because of the new methods that will be used, he expounded.

He added that more marble complexes will be opened in the Upper Egypt governorates of Aswan and Menya as well as in Sinai and in the Red Sea city of Sokhna.

He noted that the private sector is cooperating with the government in developing Cairo's Shaq el Thoban area which is one of the biggest areas for the marble industry.

He noted that the conditions of people living in this area should be adjusted first ahead of upgrading factories and the infrastructure there, especially water treatment stations to be able to absorb the huge amount of waste ejected by the factories.

President Sisi said that the state's strategy is that these newly established factories should guarantee that workers receive lucrative salaries so as to enable them to pay the costs of their transportation and residence on their own. "I believe that acting differently (by making factories responsible for covering the residence and transportation expenses of their workers) will eventually lead them to suffer big losses".

He pressed the need for learning the know how of managing a successful and profitable business, urging owners or those responsible for managing any project to be fully aware of how to manage the finances of their projects properly in order not to repeat the failure stories of the ailing companies and factories, citing the example of the National Cement Company whose factories have been suffering huge losses for many years despite the fact that their workers' average salaries reached up to EGP 11,000 monthly.

In this regard, Sisi said the private sector is successful because it knows well the ABCs of running a successful business, adding that the state-owned companies should do the same and readjust their policies or else they will be doomed.

He said tens or even hundreds of billions of pounds have been lost in a number of failing state-owned companies as a result of mismanagement.

President Sisi made it clear that cement production has greatly improved when the private sector joined the cement industry, commending the way the private sector has been running its factories in accordance with international standards. Without this, Egypt would have been importing large quantities of cement to meet its local market needs, added the president.

When the president asked for the reason of the rise in cement prices despite the plenty of production, Head of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Kamel el Wazir answered by saying that there is currently an increase in production ranging between 11 to 12 million tons. He said this increase in supply did not lead in a remarkable decrease in prices because production costs are high.

Wazir said the price of one ton of cement had hit EGP 1,300, but when the State stepped in and started manufacturing cement the price reached to a range between EGP 900 to EGP 1000 per ton.

Commenting on this, Sisi said the State intervened for the sake of reducing prices to achieve a balance in the market. He added that he gave orders to offer the cement companies at the Egyptian Exchange to enable the citizens own shares in them.

President Sisi said that public enterprise companies can be a locomotive of development for the Egyptian economy.

He noted that bold decisions will have to be made and strong action taken to resolve their problems and ensure their success.

These remarks came during the inauguration of the cement and marble production complex in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Beni Suef.

President Sisi stressed that the track of reform is tough and requires boldness besides serious and close follow up.

"Our economic indicators need to be further improved," he stressed.

The ministries of Investment, Public Enterprise Sector, Trade and Industry in addition to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) should cooperate to achieve this goal, he affirmed.

He urged the CBE to probe providing part of the EGP 200 billion that is need to be allocated for supporting the ailing ventures and factories of the public business sector where over 210,000 workers are employed.

Backing these stalled firms and helping re-operate them properly will be a real contribution to building the Egyptian economy, he underscored.

Sisi ordered outlining a complete map during four months at most on reforming these ailing industrial facilities and means of solving their problem via practical measures .

There are 122 floundering factories, the president went on to say, noting that the State has already managed to help 80 of them to resume work.

"If we do our best, we can resolve the problems facing the rest of them", Sisi further noted.

President Sisi further thanked all the officials who worked in the cement and marble production complex in Beni Suef and the cabinet for the achievement they have made.

He asserted that more projects will be inaugurated in Upper Egypt during the coming period to create job opportunities to its residents.

President Sisi said that a project to cultivate lands in the four Upper Egyptian governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut and Sohag will be announced within coming months.

Plots of land, ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 feddans, will be handed over to youth within a year, the president added.

He assured Upper Egyptian governorates' residents that the state will dig water wells and provide the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the accomplishment of this worthwhile project.

He urged youth to reshape their lives and work in their homeland and stop thinking about immigration.

Within the coming months, many direct and indirect jobs will be secured for youth, Sisi promised.

In response to a request from one of the attendees to designate a lane for heavy trucks on Beni Suef highway and establish an Olympic city in the governorate, the president promised to scrutinize this big request.

He went on to say "actions speak louder than words, let's remember New Nasser City in Assiut governorate, one of the six new cities to be constructed in Upper Egypt."

The six new cities will be integrated cities, the President made it clear.

President Sisi said that an axis in El Fashn city near the southern borders of Beni Suef governorate is set to be established, pointing out that working at the project will start within two years.

El Fashn Axis project will be implemented in a period that ranges between one or one and a half years, said the president.

"Work has already begun at the six cities and the other ten axes we talked about before", Sisi said, noting that costs of each axis amounts to EGP 2.2 billion, a fact that means that the axes will be implemented at costs that range between EGP 22 to 25 billion.

Sisi said State's subsidy system will be maintained, noting that the value of subsidy that the State provides for the citizens hit EGP 334 billion.

"Had it not been for the subsidy bills, the State would have been able to implement an investment map that encompasses all its targeted projects in just one year", Sisi said. However, the subsidy can never be cut so as to maintain the country's social balance amid the current harsh economic circumstances.

The president further said that the private sector should cooperate with the government to press ahead on the path of development.


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