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Monday, 28 September 2020

The inauguration of the Mostorod petrochemical complex was the top story on last night’s talk shows

The grand opening of the Egyptian Refinery Company’s Mostorod petrochemical complex yesterday was the top story on the talk shows last night. Consumer protection, school fees and the auto market also got a look-in on a night that was otherwise dominated by the refinery.

Qalaa Holdings Chairman Ahmed Heikal took a victory lap last night as he celebrated keeping the USD 4.3 bn ERC on track through the global financial crisis, the 2011 revolution and the Morsi interregnum. Heikal spoke with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 15:43), Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch: runtime: 8:19), El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 3:20), and Salet Al-Tahrir’s Azza Moustafa (watch, runtime: 3:18) about the inauguration of the complex by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Among the takeaways:

  • A fair price for gas: Heikal called for a reduction of gas prices to USD 3.8-4 mmBtu for industry and said the inauguration of the refinery makes it clear there is a place in the economy for the private sector.
  • Heikal praised the Sisi administration’s response to covid 19, singling out programs to cushion the economic and human impact of the pandemic by cutting interest rates, allocating EGP 100 bn to support the economy, and disbursing emergency payments to day laborers.
  • Qalaa scholarships: Heikal said that in addition to a large-scale program that sends students abroad for graduate degrees, Qalaa has 30 scholarships for outstanding high school students from Mostorod (the area in which ERC is based), sending them to universities such as the American University in Cairo, Nile University and Zewail City of Science and Technology.

A step toward energy independence: Assal also spoke with Medhat Youssef, the former deputy head of the state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, who noted that ERC will help Egypt sharply reduce its imports of refine petroleum products — and said there are plans to establish other refineries in areas similar Mostorod, which was home to an existing refinery that ships feedstock to ERC. He added that Egypt intends to reach self-sufficiency in diesel and be in a position to export gasoline and jet fuel by 2023 (watch, runtime: 9:31).

Demand slump continues in car industry: Adib phoned Khaled Saad, the secretary general of the Automobile Association, who said that the car prices this year would be “different” because of covid-19, without elaborating (watch, runtime: 2:34). Saad stressed that there is currently low demand for new vehicles — but a pickup in demand for used cars (watch, runtime: 1:16).

Another person who popped up in several places yesterday was Consumer Protection Agency head Ahmed Samir Farag, who appeared on Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 21:11) and El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 3:03) to discuss the agency’s work (watch, runtime: 3:39) and the ongoing dispute over school fees. The agency will investigate parents’ complaints over school fees at international and private schools in light of covid-related closures and amendments to curriculums, Farag said, adding that 75% of schools have so far refunded bus fees.

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