The ministerial economic group approved in its meeting the affiliation of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, according to Minister of Industry Tarek Qabil.
Qabil said the ministry aims to develop a comprehensive vision for the development of this vital sector, which represents more than 80% of the national economy.
The ministry seeks to provide comprehensive assistance to the owners of SMEs at all stages of their projects, starting with the preparation of feasibility studies and the selection of machinery up to the provision of technical skilled labour and starting the operation of the plant.
Qabil pointed out that the coordination will proceed with all stakeholders in the sector, including the banking system, to provide the necessary funding mechanisms to the projects under the initiative announced by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The initiative said banks should provide funding of EGP 200bn for these kinds of projects.
The minister mentioned that some impediments have negatively affected on the SMEs sector such as the economic slowdown, the reduction of Chinese currency, the decline of the rouble prices, the depreciation of the euro by 32% against the pound, and the political turmoil in the Arab region.
“The trade deficit increased to $48bn instead of $38bn and decline of cash reserve to $16.4bn instead of $36bn,” he said. “In spite of all these repercussions, the gross national product (GNP) increased to 4.2% and we target to reach 5%.”
Qabil said the ministry is currently working on developing a comprehensive strategy for the development of trade and industry based on deepening local manufacturing, increasing the value-added of the Egyptian product, expanding establishing industrial clusters, and the expansion of trade offices in Africa.
It will also put a new system of supporting exports since the current system allows the acquisition of only 50 companies on more than 75% of the total current support value, which the ministry is trying to change in the new system, Qabil said.