Gamal El-Garhy, Head of the Chamber of Metallurgical Industries at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), has demanded the government keep the EGP 150bn investments in the steel sector.
In a special statement, El-Garhy added that over the last four years, factories have consumed their capital. Investments worth EGP 150bn are at stake and risk collapse due to obstacles they have been facing in this time, he added.
El-Garhy added that a shortage in gas provided to factories pushed them to suspend 75% of their production lines during the current period.
“The government should be committed to providing all the amounts they contracted on with factories and considering this as a national security issue, it should not direct the gas amounts to power plants,” El-Garhy said.
He commented on the government trend to allow the private sector to import natural gas, saying that the private sector is not ready to carry out this job yet.
The government raised the natural gas price from $1 per million thermal units to $3, and lately to $7, which has harmed the metal industries, he said.
El-Garhy believes that natural gas should be provided to the private sector for $4 per million thermal units, instead of the current $7. Natural gas should not be perceived as a burning material, but a raw material that contributes to the manufacturing process.
He criticised the government for not removing protective duties on steel imports compared with other countries in the region, saying that the 8% rate is not in favour of protecting Egyptian industry.
“Some countries impose protective duties amounting to 40% – protective duties on steel Turkey imposes amount to 18%,” according to El-Garhy.
He mentioned that, in spite of imposing protective duties on steel imports more than three weeks ago, more than 300,000 tonnes entered Egypt during that period, from Turkey and China. “How can we protect the domestic industry under these circumstances and policies?” he said.