Both Egyptian House of Representatives Speaker Hanafi Gebali and the Cabinet denied the government’s intention to establish the Suez Canal Authority Fund as a backdoor for selling the canal.
The draft law, which received preliminary approval at a plenary session on Monday, sought to amend the law pertaining to the Suez Canal, allowing the establishment of a private fund.
The fund, if approved, would have a capacity of EGP 100bn and would start its operations with a EGP10bn transfer from the canal’s coffers.
Gebali said on Tuesday that the draft law submitted by the government amending some provisions of Law No. 30 of 1975 regulating the Suez Canal Authority does not include any provisions affecting the canal or selling it.
“The state is obligated to protect, develop and preserve it as an international waterway,” he added.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives stressed: “Selling, renting, or investing in the Canal Fund corresponds to the nature of the funds and does not in any way affect the Suez Canal itself, and that the canal is a public entity.”
He indicated that Parliament will not drift in issuing laws that do not follow the constitution, stressing that the Parliament is doing its best to scrutinize laws to preserve the country and the citizens, especially the Suez Canal Fund.
The draft law was met with widespread criticism from MPs and commentators on social media who denounced the privatisation, at least in part, of economic activities relating to the canal.
Also, the Cabinet Media said that it contacted the Suez Canal Authority, which denied these reports, stressing that the government’s intention to establish the Suez Canal Authority fund as a back door for selling the canal is not true.
The centre stressed that the Suez Canal and its management will remain fully owned by the Egyptian state and subject to its sovereignty, and the entire staff of the Suez Canal Authority, including employees, technicians and administrators, will remain from Egyptian citizens.
The centre added that the goal of establishing a fund owned by the Suez Canal Authority is to increase the authority’s ability to contribute to the sustainable economic development through optimal utilization of its funds in accordance with the best international standards and rules to maximize its value.
The statement indicated that the fund will contribute to enabling the authority to confront crises and emergencies that occur as a result of any exceptional circumstances or bad economic conditions.
It noted that all the fund’s accounts are subject to the supervision of the Central Auditing Agency, calling on citizens not to be led by these lies, while drawing information from its reliable sources.