There has been “significant progress” in resolving the Nubaria Seed Production Company (NUBASEED) dispute, according to Saudi investor and chairman of NUBASEED Abdullah Al-Kaaky.
Al-Kaaky, according to a Sunday statement from the Saudi-Egyptian Businessmen Association (SEBA), added that the General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agriculture Development (GARPAD) has handed the company all its files.
SEBA said the move came in accordance with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s promise to resolve the problems faced by Saudi investors in Egypt.
Kaaky added that the outstanding matters are currently being resolved.
SEBA Chairman Mohamed Abdullah Al-Rajhy commented that the efforts of the Egyptian Disputes Settlement Committee have contributed to resolving the dispute. The government formed the committee in July to deal with all investment disputes pending international arbitration. Egypt has also undertaken various initiatives to reduce bureaucracy and ensure investors’ rights. This has included the development of new laws to regulate bids and investment.
Al-Rajhy further noted that the move will increase Saudi investments in Egypt in the future.In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said that a settlement with NUBASEED Fruits and Vegetables Exporting Company, headed by Al–Kaaky, will be reached within days.
Al-Kaaky purchased NUBA SEED in 1999 under privatisation measures that were adopted by former president Hosni Mubarak’s government. However, after the 25 January Revolution, former Agriculture Minister Salah Youssef issued a decree in October 2011 to seize the assets of NUBASEED, to be placed under the ministry’s authority.
In late 2013, former Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi ordered the resolution of the dispute, which was followed by a meeting between Al-Kaaky and GARPAD. Another meeting in July 2014 resulted in an order to hand all the firm’s assets back to the Saudi investor.
Following the 25 January Revolution, Egyptian courts had voided privatisation contracts for several companies, returning them to the state. These re-nationalisation decisions angered investors, who resorted to international arbitration centres to file cases against Egypt.
Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said that the government is working to end 80% of investment disputes before the economic summit, which will be held in March 2015.
Head of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) Hassan Fahmy said in September that the government is working hard to settle all disputes outside of court. It is hoped the dispute resolution will avoid arbitration fees that would weigh heavily on the state’s coffers, adding that the investor has the complete freedom to accept the committee’s decision or resort to the courts.
Similarly, a ministerial committee approved in November the final settlement for UAE-based company Al-Futtaim, worth EGP 214m, which will be paid by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA).
SEBA was launched in December 2013, aiming to provide investment opportunities for Saudi investors in Egypt and to resolve the obstacles facing foreign investment in the Egyptian market.
that was formed last December, including representatives from the Egyptian Ministry of Defence and other relevant ministries, as well as the Saudi trade ministry and Saudi Chamber of Commerce, have contributed to resolving the dispute.