A total of 500 Egyptian brick factories have closed throughout the country, putting an estimated 10,000 employees out of business.
Adel Al-Ganidi, factory owner and member of the Egyptian Brick Factory Owners’ Organisation, said that a number of owners decided to cease operations until a recent decision to increase the price of mazut and natural gas was rescinded.
He accused the government of not working fast enough to address the problems of factory owners, saying that in the end it is the 10,000 workers who are dependent upon their jobs who will end up suffering. He added that factory owners would suffer huge losses as a result of these closures, adding however that they would not reopen their facilities until the decision to increase mazut prices was overturned.
In the 6th of October City, a number of real estate investors have complained about the rise in the price of bricks, with prices increasing from EGP 180 to EGP 380 per thousand bricks. This, he said, has caused a construction crisis, with a number of large and small scale projects having temporarily ceased operations, especially in newly-utilised expansion regions. A number of investors stated that the move was not well thought-out and requested that it be rescinded.
Mohamed Abd al-Fatah, a real estate investor, said that the decision would put an end to a number of new construction projects, adding that the rise in the price of factory fuels would translate into a rise in property prices and apartments, especially in new urban areas. He emphasised that investors would consider themselves bound by old prices when constructing and implementing their projects.
Hamed Gomaa, a local brick salesman, said that he hadn’t sold a single brick in three days, and requested that the government rescind its law as it threatened his livelihood and that of many others.
An official within Egypt’s General Petroleum Authority (GPA) stated that the connection between dollars and the price of fuel was to be a strong indicator regarding the ability of the government to review price controls for property. He added that the government was taking steps to introduce new ways to monitor price setting and that this would have effect this would have on the market.
Osama Kamal, petroleum and mineral resources minister, said that price control adjustments would occur on a yearly basis according to a statement released by the Official Gazette. He added that the link between new fuel prices for mazut, gas, diesel and the dollar exchange rate was evidence of the fact that the government was seeking to employ new, internationally recognised and used methods to periodically set fuel prices. These methods, he said, would be studied and reviewed within the next three years.
He added that the amount of diesel and petroleum currently available was enough to meet the market demand, despite shortages in some cities that have led to protests and the blocking off of a number of roads. He added that Egypt currently produced 38,000 tonnes of diesel and 16,000 tonens of petroleum per day, enough to meet the market’s normal needs. However, he stated that increased trade on the black market had caused the situation to worsen.