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Thursday, 7 April 2022

Gov’t eyes more support for contractors

The government could look into rescheduling debt payments for developers, Housing Minister Assem El Gazzar said after a sit-down with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and real estate players yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. The price of local building materials including steel and cement has soared since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, eating into contractors’ margins and leading them to lobby for government support to help absorb the shock.

Developers used the meeting to call for higher dumping fees on some building materials to bring market prices back into balance, saying that the negative impact of the devaluation, interest rate hike, and rising costs amid the war in Ukraine meant the sector needed “rapid intervention.” They also called for the government to provide financing for private players and to allow for delays on the completion of all projects. Cabinet recently announced that developers who fail to meet deadlines on state infrastructure projects will be exempt from fines for two months.

A CPA crackdown on cement and steel price hikes in the works? Major cement and steel companies are being called in for an “urgent” meeting with the Consumer Protection Authority to discuss the recent price jumps, Madbouly said. Steel prices have jumped to around EGP 19.9k/tonne from EGP 15.5k in recent weeks due to a significant rise in imported scrap metal prices, while cement went up by at least 10%, currently sitting at EGP 1.4k/tonne following the war.

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