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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Cabinet approves USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone agreement, Unified Building Code amendments

CABINET WATCH- The Ismail Cabinet signed off yesterday on the preliminary agreement to set up the USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, according to a statement. Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry spokesperson had said last month that Egypt and Russia are expected to sign the final contracts establishing the zone on the sidelines of a joint trade commission meeting in Moscow this month. Talks on the RIZ — which had initially been announced in 2014 — had hit a roadblock last summer but resumed smoothly in October.

The ministers also signed off on amendments to the Unified Building Code that would grant consultants and specialists registered with the General Organization for Physical Planning the legal authority to inspect construction projects. These experts would also be mandated with taking the necessary legal action to halt and report any violations.

Also approved during the weekly meeting:

  • Draft legislation on solid waste management after including proposed amendments. The law will now be referred to the Council of State for review;
  • A draft law establishing the National Advertising Regulatory Authority to regulate billboards on roads and bridges;
  • Allowing landowners to pay fees to legalize their ownership in instalments over three years, with interest;
  • An agreement to disburse the third USD 500 mn tranche of the African Development Bank’s USD 1.5 bn loan;
  • A JPY 993 mn (USD 9.4 mn) grant from Japan for the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology;
  • Two separate grants from the US to finance water sanitation projects and develop family planning and reproductive health services.

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