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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Public Enterprises Ministry’s plan to turnaround state firms

Dominating coverage on the airwaves last night was Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik, who made the rounds on all the major talk shows to discuss the ministry’s plan to stem the flow of red ink into its coffers.

The problem: The state firms under the ministry have racked up EGP 7.5 bn in total losses. 26 out of the ministry’s 48 subsidiaries account for EGP 6.7 bn (or 90%) of the losses incurred by state companies, Tawfik told Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 9:08). Furthermore, the sector has debts and unpaid energy bills topping EGP 15 bn, he said on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:51).

The turnaround strategy: First and foremost: feasibility studies on each loss-making company to determine whether it is even worth fixing. Those found incapable of making a turnaround will be shut down (with their workers compensated, of course), he tells El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 4:19). He cited the example of the National Cement Company, which he says will likely be shut down after feasibility studies determined that it was unfixable. Companies which stand a chance will be restructured. The plan is to see them start generating profits in 24-30 months, he said on Al Hayah fi Masr.

Sector-specific plans: The ministry appears to have honed in on the textiles and steel sectors as potentially being salvageable (no pun intended). He phoned in to Hona Al Asema to outline details of the ministry’s plan for the textiles industry (watch, runtime: 7:37). This includes selling some of their assets and focussing on growing short and medium staple cotton. As for the steel industry, Tawfik sees a lot of potential there, considering the state already has some EGP 4-5 bn in scrap metal stocks, he told Al Hayah fi Masr.

Profitable companies could be streamlined into the state privatization program. He noted that these companies are making profits in excess of EGP 15 bn. Tawfik revealed details on the program to the press earlier in the day, the highlights of which we cover in the Speed Round below.

With drop in the EGX continued to receive coverage, with Masaa DMC interviewing former Al Awael boss turned business-news pundit Wael Enaba (watch, runtime: 7:32). The EGX closed down 0.7% yesterday in very light trading.

The Consumer Protection Act being signed into law gave Consumer Protection Authority head Rady “Stickers” Abdel Moaty plenty of reason to gloat on Al Hayah fi Masr. he lauded the law and urged citizens to snitch in droves (watch, runtime: 12:05).

E-payments: The Finance Ministry’s plan to make all transactions with the government electronic was discussed on Hona Al Asema. The show interviewed Assistant Finance Minister Khaled Nassef, who repeated the usual talking points about the benefits of the move (watch, runtime: 17:29).

Defending new tariffs: Finance Ministry Advisor Magdy Abdelaziz defended a the recent imposition of tariffs as “compatible with Egypt’s international agreements” in an appearance on DMC.

The Housing Ministry has begun paying compensation to slum dwellers of the Maspero triangle which is currently being redeveloped, Housing Ministry spokesman Hany Younes told Al Hayah fi Masr. former residents will either receive financial compensation or be given new homes in new housing projects, he said (watch, runtime: 11:56).

Lamees El Hadidy is still MIA / AWOL.

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