By Ibrahim El-Masry
The newly appointed Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Hatem Saleh, has said that the Ministry is negotiating with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) as well as a number of other banks to reach settlements for 1,500 factories that defaulted on their loans in the aftermath of the 25 January Revolution.
Saleh said that the Ministry will prepare a comprehensive report detailing how to resume production at the factories in order to stimulate Egypt’s stalled economy and return it to normal rates of growth.
He also noted that combating monopolies in various sectors of the Egyptian economy is among the Ministry’s priorities. Eliminating harmful monopolistic practices will ensure that Egyptian consumers have access to goods at competitive prices and will facilitate the entry of smaller factories into the market. The Ministry hopes that the number of companies that benefit from export subsidies will rise to 1,800.
The new regulations for export subsidies will be put in place, in order to prevent corruption, Saleh added, pointing out that export subsidies currently equal EGP 4 billion.
In addition, the Minister will prepare an expedited plan to provide new incentives to attract large investment companies to Egypt. Saleh said that the Ministry will concentrate on bringing greater investment to Upper Egypt in the interests of achieving social justice.
The Ministry will strive to take advantage of bilateral trade agreements, stated Saleh, in addition to a number of free trade agreements such as the Egypt-Turkey Free Trade Agreement, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), Mercosur, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in order to increase exports.