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Sunday, 21 August 2022

Abdalla at the CBE + a new industrial tender get attention on the airwaves

Hassan Abdalla’s appointment as caretaker governor of the Central Bank of Egypt got a lot of attention on the airwaves last night, with El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 2:42; 5:31) and Sada El Balad (watch, runtime: 2:43) both covering the news.

The key question: What happens to the EGP? “Abdalla’s priority will be to shift Egypt’s economic policy from one pegged to a fixed EGP to a more flexible currency that is adaptable to supply and demand and market movements,” economist Hany Genena told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib, joining a growing chorus of economists calling for increased EGP flexibility. “A stable FX rate requires severe austerity measures that do not complement Egypt’s current economic agenda or plans for expansions and development,” he said.

Also on Abdalla’s agenda: The new governor will need to decide whether the CBE will continue offering loans at preferential rates to SMEs and tourism companies, a policy that the IMF is telling the government to end, Genena said. We have more on Abdalla’s appointment in this morning’s Moves section, above.

The new trade + industry minister is getting to work: The Trade and Industry Ministry is launching a tender for three industrial complexes comprising 1k units in Upper Egypt next week for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), head of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Mohamed El Zalat, told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:07). The ministry has slashed prices for the conditions booklet for companies bidding for the units by more than half to EGP 300-500, from EGP 2k previously, he said.

Hundreds of companies have obtained licenses for industrial land from the ministry within 20 days or less since May, El Zalat said (watch, runtime: 6:19). The ministry had taken over responsibility for issuing licenses in May to expedite procedures that normally forced companies to obtain at least 14 approvals before obtaining a license. Some 3-4k companies obtained building permits for their factories in 2021 and have already started operations, he said.

Remember: Ahmed Saleh recently took over as the country’s trade and industry minister, replacing Nevine Gamea, who was criticized by MPs and investors during her time in office for the slow pace of industrial licensing and bureaucratic reform.

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • Electricity Ministry denies tough measures for those who don’t ration electricity: The government will not cut the power on those who do not abide by the government’s new measures to reduce electricity consumption, Electricity Spokesperson Ayman Hamza said. (Ala Mas’ouleety | watch, runtime: 15:16)
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi followed up on the status of land reclamation projects, including those in New Delta, Toshka and Upper Egypt. (Al Hayah Al Youm | watch, runtime: 4:14)

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