Prime Minister Hesham Qandil is set to discuss issues related to private sector investment during an official visit to the Qatari capital of Doha on Wednesday.
In a speech made to Egypt’s cabinet, Qandil said that during the visit a number of important economic and commercial issues would be discussed, particularly those having to do with mutual investment between the two countries, as a first step in the long process to help encourage investment into Egypt from Gulf countries.
Mahram Helal, president of the Egypt Qatar Business Council (EQBC), said that the Qandil’s visit comes after a previous visit made by council representatives on Tuesday, who discussed difficulties in importing Qatari gas faced by companies operating in Egypt’s private sector.
Petroleum Minister Ossama Kamal said on Sunday that Egypt had planned to import one billion cubic metres of Qatari gas.
He added on Tuesday that “officials from both governments would discuss the appropriate price of Qatari gas set to be imported by an affiliate of Citadel Capital”.
He went on to say that “no companies within Egypt possess the required amount of financial solvency needed to import such gas except for Citadel Capital”.
The company released a statement last November announcing that it had signed an agreement with QInvest and a number of other Qatari partners to establish a natural gas import company in Egypt by mid-2013, in addition to plans to construct a floating gas storage unit set to reconvert liquid fuel back into gas for consumption.
The company, whose total investments have reached $9.5bn, said that it sought to increase its investments in the Middle East region through a series of acquisitions.
Helal said that the visit sought to help grant Egyptian companies guarantees to receive priority in obtaining contracts to work on infrastructure projects in Qatar, launched in order to help the country prepare for its hosting of the World Cup in 2022.
He went on to say that Egyptian officials also sought during the visit to work to settle disputes between Qatari companies and the Egyptian government, particularly those operating inside the country before the launching of the 25 January Revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
He referred specifically to Qatari Diar, a company currently involved in disputes with Egypt’s government over rights to develop 30 million square meters of land in the tourist resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, in addition to land located in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on both banks of the Nile river.
Halal stated that Qatari Diar will “discuss its disputes with the Egyptian government in meetings held with Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and the EQBC”.
Qatar announced during the final quarter of the 2012 fiscal year that the country was prepared to pump an additional $18bn into Egypt through a number of tourist projects located along the North Coast estimated to cost a total of $10bn, in addition to a project located along the Western Bank of the Suez Canal estimated to cost $8bn.
On Sunday the EQBC expressed its anger over the latest episode of Bassem Youssef’s El Bernameg programme, during which the satirist poked fun at Egypt’s relationship with Qatar, especially on the business front.