Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer sparked debate within the automotive sector when he criticised automotive manufacturers for not exporting cars beyond Egypt’s market and thereby not contributing to tariff revenues.
Amer made the comments during an interview with journalist Ibrahim Eissa on Alkahera Walnas TV channel on Sunday evening. He compared Egypt’s tariff revenue to Turkey’s which he claimed amounts to $20bn a year. Turkey aims to increase that figure to $75 bn by 2023.
Automotive companies have rejected the CBE governor’s criticism.
Executive director and spokesperson of the Egyptian Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA) Hussein Mostafa said the automotive manufacturers have contributed approximately EGP 27bn to the state treasury annually through paid automotive tariffs.
Admitting that automotive manufacturers have decreased exports, Mostafa claimed this was due to problems with current legislation which does not encourage investments in the construction of factories that could turn Egypt into a larger producer and exporter like other countries in North Africa.
Mostafa contended that many international companies want to enter the Egyptian market, but face bureaucratic intransigency. To encourage manufacturing the government should ensure competitive prices and quality which in turn will bolster exports.
Board Member of the Automotive Marketing Information Council (AMIC) and an executive advisor in the Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles Amr Nassar said Amer overlooked the bus industry. Egypt has surpassed Turkey in the total number of bus exports. Egypt’s primary export partners are England and France, in additional to the airport bus industry of several countries.
Amr said that bus industry has a robust labour force. He asked the government to negotiate with the automotive manufacturing companies to attract direct investments to manufacture products that are intended to be exported. Additionally, he called on automotive company agents in Egypt to convince their parent companies to manufacture in Egypt with the purpose of exporting.
Automotive company officials refused to comment on Amer’s critique.