The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has decided to extend the validity of some of the decisions previously made to deal with the pandemic for six months, starting from 1 January to 30 June 2022.
This comes within the framework of implementing the strategy of the National Payments Council headed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in continuation of the proactive efforts of the CBE in terms of dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic. This decision stems from the keenness on revitalizing and protecting the national economy and preserving the gains of economic reform and stability of the banking sector.
According to a statement by the CBE, the decisions include exempting customers from all expenses and commissions related to bank transfer services in the Egyptian pound.
They also include issuing e-wallets for free, exempting citizens from all commissions and fees for transfers, as well as issuing prepaid cards free of charge for citizens, provided that these cards are contactless.
The decisions also included exempting citizens from all fees and commissions related to cash withdrawal operations, provided that the card issuing bank bears those fees and commissions, and this does not include credit card returns.
The CBE indicated that it has incurred nearly EGP 9bn over the past period, since the beginning of the pandemic to ease the burdens on citizens. The decisions that have been extended come within the framework of CBE’s keenness on ensuring the continuity of banks’ business and providing customers with more ease to encourage them to use electronic payment methods and channels, in a way that supports the state’s orientation to transform into a cashless society.
The decisions also include exempting citizens from all fees and commissions related to cash withdrawal transactions of pensions from ATMs, which were estimated at an approximate value of EGP 60m during the aforementioned period, and expanding the withdrawal cap from other bank ATMs to EGP 4,000 from only EGP 2,000.
The decisions also include exempting sellers merchants from all fees for activating electronic collection services via the Internet (E-Commerce) in order to reduce the financial burdens on companies by. Over the past few months, this exemption resulted in increasing the number of e-commerce companies by nearly 100%.
The CBE stressed that it will continue to closely follow all developments on the global and local levels, to intervene immediately by taking appropriate measures to protect the national economy, revitalize the market, and maintain banking and monetary stability.
In an attempt to alleviate the burdens on a large segment of bank clients, the CBE has decided to extend the validity period of the initiative to support the tourism sector for an additional year to end in December 2022.
During that time, requests to postpone bank payments will be accepted, but only for a maximum of three years.
The CBE also decided to extend the validity period of the retail loan initiative for workers in the tourism sector for one year ending by the end of December 2022, during which banks are allowed to carry over the payments of loan customers for consumption purposes and real estate loans for personal housing, for an additional six months, with no interests, from their due date. The remaining aspects of the initiative remain in effect.
The CBE stressed not changing the existing allocations, taking into account the requirements of the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS9).
The CBE noted that for those who have previously benefited from the initiative (since its issuance on 7 December 2015), the maturity dates can be postponed. This is an attempt to facilitate procedures for workers of the tourism sector.