The past year witnessed a hike in the number of new firms established in Egypt to 8,512, the highest annual rate since 2005, Minister of Investment Osama Saleh said.
Saleh pointed out during a Sunday meeting of the economic ministerial group, headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, that these new companies totaled EGP 10.8bn in capital investments.
An official statement from the cabinet noted that 20% of these companies are foreign and Arab firms, marking a high percentage that approaches pre-revolution levels.
The transitional period following former president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011 left the country in economic turmoil, largely hitting the business, industrial, construction and tourism sectors. Foreign direct investment (FDI) dipped to $3bn in 2013, less than a quarter of the $13.2bn in 2007.
FDI amounts to 25% of total investments in Egypt.
Starting from 2011, Arab investments have faced troubles and some Saudi investors demanded compensation for the nationalisation of their assets, to which the government replied that it is “working on ways to compensate them.”
“Arab investments are the only way for Egypt to progress,” Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa El Din said in a conference aiming to lure Arab investments in December.
The interim government is aiming to accumulate investments of EGP 170bn in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, Saleh said in November, adding that his ministry is working on legal reforms that guarantee a better investment environment and facilitate investing in Egypt.
The economic ministerial group’s meeting was also attended by the Ministries of Finance, Planning, Petroleum, Agriculture, Supply and Housing to highlight economic achievements.
Ashraf El-Arabi, Minister of Planning, pointed out that, of the EGP 2.5bn owed to them from the government, EGP 2.1bn has been paid to contractors..
All contractors’ dues were supposed to be repaid by the end of 2013, El-Arabi said earlier in a November announcement. At the time of the announcement, only 700m had been paid back to contractors.
Ministers also discussed the implementation of the minimum wage law. Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal declared that his ministry finalised all necessary arrangements to implement minimum income plans for all government employees to begin this January.
The government decided to set a minimum wage at EGP 1,200 per month for public workers.