CAIRO: More than LE 7 billion in sewage and fresh water treatment projects are now offered by the government for implementation by the private sector in 2007, according to a General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) report released Monday.
Leading the list are a LE 3 billion fresh water treatment project for New Cairo and Nasr City, and sewage treatment for Southeast New Cairo and New Borg El Arab worth LE 2.5 billion and LE 1.6 billion, respectively.
Minister of Investment Mahmoud Moheiddin launched a widely-publicized campaign in 2006 to promote public-private-partnerships (PPP) as means of accelerating economic growth and relieving pressure off the national budget to implement infrastructure-development projects.
Since 1991, the private sector has partnered with the government to implement 16 projects worth $6.2 billion (LE 35.7 billion), mostly in telecommunication but also including transportation, irrigation, sewage and healthcare, according to MOF figures.
Moheiddin points to the level of PPP achieved by other developing countries with comparable economies to Egypt such as Malaysia, which recorded 81 projects, over the same period, worth $38 billion and the Philippines, which recorded 78 projects worth $32 billion.
HCFI: Sugar companies not for sale
CAIRO: Despite persistent rumors, the government has no plans to sell its remaining stakes in public sugar manufacturers, Holding Company for Food Industries (HCFI) Chairman Ahmed El Rokaiby told Al Alam Al Youm Monday.
El Rokaiby added HCFI has shifted its previous privatization-centered strategy in favor of supporting the expansion of its sugar-producing subsidiaries.
“We believe it’s important for us to reevaluate [privatization] measures, he said.
Last week Delta Sugar, the country’s second largest producer, announced Wednesday it is considering an offer from the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates, to invest in its planned $131 million (LE 750 million) sugar beat factory in Sharkeyya.
The new factory will nearly double Delta’s total annual output, now standing at 260,000 per year.
In April, Delta announced plans for new sugar factories in Fayyum and Dakhaila with combined production capacities of 350,000 tons per year, although the company is yet to cement its intentions. Delta is 51 percent government owned and is publicly traded on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange.
Egyptians consume about 2.4 million tons of sugar per year, of which 800,000 to 1 million tons are imported, according to The Egyptian Chamber of Food Industries (ECFI).
Magdi Sobhy, economist at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said the expansion strategy might not succeed in satisfying local demand but signals the government’s recognition of the importance of the staple in the face of rising inflation.
“I think the government, in refusing to sell sugar industries to strategic investors, recognizes the importance of sugar to the country and the importance of keeping prices down.
Etisalat on schedule to enter market next month
CAIRO: Etisalat Egypt Chairman Salah El Abduli confirmed Monday the company has begun trial operations and is on schedule to enter the Vodafone and Mobinil-controlled market in February.
Abduli said the trials included Third Generation testing, adding the company is now working on improving its “video-call quality. Etisalat plans to achieve 70 percent coverage after its first year and add 10 percent per year thereafter.
Since winning the country’s third mobile license in July for LE 16.7 billion, the company has spent $258 million (LE 1.5 billion) to establish its operating infrastructure, part of the company s LE 6 billion budget for its first year.
Abduli said the company has so far hired 250 employees, with plans to double the number by the end of February and reach 1,000 by the end of 2007.
Etisalat holds 55 percent in the consortium that won the government s auction of the third mobile license. The consortium includes the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) with 20 percent, Egypt Post with 20 percent and Commercial International with 4 percent.
According to NTRA figures, mobile penetration reached 22 percent in November, 2006. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Tarek Kamel says he expects the number to reach 40 percent by 2010.