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Thursday, 11 February 2021

Cabinet approves natgas vehicle switch incentives

Vehicle owners are one step closer to getting financial incentives to swap out their old cars to new ones running on natgas or dual fuel engines after the Madbouly Cabinet signed off on the proposal in its weekly meeting yesterday, according to a statement. Under the proposal, owners of private vehicles can get up to 10% off of the cost of a new vehicle — with the ceiling set at EGP 22k — while taxi and microbus owners will be able to get 20% and 45% off, up to a maximum of 45k and 65k, respectively. The incentives come as part of the government’s multi-year plan to convert or replace 1.8 mn cars to run on natural gas in a bid to reduce dependence on petrol-fuel, which also includes EGP 1.2 bn of low-interest financing provided by the Trade and Industry Ministry, the Central Bank of Egypt, and the MSME Development Agency to fund the conversion.

GB Auto expects to be among the top beneficiaries of the vehicle replacement program, as it was under the white taxi replacement program, a company official told us. The first year of the program will likely cover some 70k vehicles that have been on the road for more than 20 years, while another 180k cars will follow in the two subsequent years.

Some 80k individuals have already registered for the scheme, Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa yesterday (watch, runtime: 14:39).

BACKGROUND- The “white cab replacement program,” announced in early 2009, saw the government give incentives to cabbies of what were then some 70k black-and-whites in Cairo. Vehicle owners could pick up a locally assembled white cab on a subsidized, no-interest payment plan if they scrapped cars that had been on the road more than 20 years. There was a movement afoot by early 2011 to expand the program to civilian vehicles, but that initiative died on the vine with the events subsequent to 25 January. There’s essential background here — including on the environmental benefits — if you’re so inclined.

Also approved during the meeting:

  • A USD 500k grant from the African Development Bank for emergency humanitarian aid during covid-19.
  • A partnership agreement with Germany to help create jobs and support SMEs.
  • Amendments to the law governing the Cotton Arbitration and Testing General Organization that would grant it oversight over all stages of the ginning process through cotton records. The amendments would impose a maximum jail sentence of 6 months and a maximum fine of EGP 1 mn for anyone found to have obstructed the organization’s access to these cotton records.

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