Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said that indicators of the fourth quarter of FY 2013/2014 include 3.5% economic growth. The first quarter of 2014/2015 saw the implementation of government investments estimated at four times that amount over same period last year.
The estimated results for the first quarter of the upcoming fiscal year are a good indicator and will restore the confidence of international markets after the reform of the energy system, El-Araby said, adding that the world is beginning to notice a recovery of the Egyptian economy.
Regarding the economic reforms, the minister said that the government seeks to complete a series of economic and social reforms to show the business community and financial institutions during the summit that today’s Egypt has a vision that includes a plan of real reform. Implementation began with the economic recovery plan, as well as with several national projects that have been initiated to construct the new road axis.
The settlement of investment disputes points to the respect of the state’s contracts and agreements and its protection of investors, El-Araby continued.
The government has received major offers from the private sector to organise and coordinate the economic summit but he prefers government-led initiatives, adding that they aim to attract investments worth EGP600bn during the summit to achieve growth of more than 4%.
Discussing the hurdles facing investments in Egypt, El-Araby said that the Minister of Housing finalized the settlements of nearly 11 investment disputes with the Urban Communities Authority, leaving only two disputes to be resolved within the housing sector.
El-Araby also discussed the new holding company that aims to create job opportunities. He explained that the holding company includes 20% shares which belong to the government and 80% to the private sector, adding that it will include subsidiaries in every governorate. He added that this month will witness the completion of the formation of its Board of Trustees whose responsibility will be to ensure the establishment of procedures and gathering funds from the private sector.
The government will inject EGP 2bn into the company, but the Board of Trustees will be responsible for gathering funds from the private sector and determining the rate of returns, investments, and conducting feasibility studies to be submitted to the private sector, he said.
The minister added that this partnership with the private sector will be based on mutual profit – “the government profits and the private sector profits.” The projects undertaken by the holding company should vary between the areas of recycling waste and transport as standard projects over the 27 governorates in addition to projects presented by the local community.
During the interview, El-Araby noted that some Arab investors, in coordination with several other investors, are considering establishing a huge investment fund in the Egyptian market.
There are no issues with the establishment procedures for funds, but the government put the regulatory frameworks for such funds in the framework of governance, he stressed.
With regard to subsidy reform, the minister said the government intends on subjecting prices of petroleum products to supply and demand in a time-period ranging between three to five years. But in the current fiscal year, the government will work on the dissemination and distribution of fuel smart cards to the majority of vehicle owners.
The first phase the government implemented is a reform package that helped end fuel smuggling which exhausted previous governments and wasted a large portion of public money, he said.
He also revealed that the government has printed nearly 2.5m cards and they already have already been marketed, however, the traffic authority says that the total number of vehicles that will receive the smartcards is estimated at 4m.There is ongoing coordination with the ministries of Petroleum and Finance as well as the Traffic Authority to complete the distribution of all smart cards before the end of the current fiscal year.
This will be followed by a period of at least six months of evaluation and experimentation with the new system without increasing prices, quotas or quantities, the minister highlighted.
The current government will complete its work by 30 June 2015 but will not make the decision to raise the prices of petroleum products. After this date,Egypt will have a newly elected government and parliament, and only then may we determine quotas and quantities. We will be ready starting 1 July 2015, if approved by parliament, El-Araby noted.
El-Araby also disclosed that the government is currently planning to set.