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Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Transport Minister defends spending on Talgo trains, rail infrastructure

Transport Minister defends spending record at the House: Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir defended his ministry’s spending on trains and rail infrastructure at the House yesterday, responding to wide-ranging questions from MPs.

Our seven new Talgo trains were a smart buy, according to El Wazir: The government secured the Spanish-made trains at a 25% discount compared to the price paid by France for the same model, El Wazir said. The EUR 157 mn contract includes one gift train and 20 years of maintenance and is financed by a 30-year facility at 1% interest rate with a five-year grace period, he noted. “Some in the media claim that the Talgo trains cost the state budget too much money, but let me respond to this as I have nothing to fear,” said El-Wazir. “We are not brokers, but officials loyal to our country.” The Talgo trains will begin operating on the Upper Egypt line next week, he added.

The new Bashteel station in Giza will open its doors in March, El Wazir said. Bashteel lies between Ramses and Giza and aims to alleviate congestion at Ramses station. It will serve as Cairo’s main station for trains to and from Upper Egypt.

Road spending rise? The 10-year plan that the government kicked off in 2014 to upgrade some 10k km of roads will have cost as much as EGP 1.96 tn by the time it wraps in 2024, El Wazir said. That’s nearly 80% higher than the EGP 1.1 tn cost El Wazir estimated back in 2020. Some four-fifths of the roadworks are now complete, he added. “These roads are important to accommodate population growth and serve industrial and agricultural projects and the movement of trade,” El Wazir said.


  • The Economic Affairs Committee is this week set to conclude its discussion of the Unifed Ins. Act, which the Senate approved last April.
  • The Defense and National Security Committee approved a draft law that would give village mayors and sheikhs more security powers, as well as toughening penalties against them for ethics violations.
  • The CIT Committee approved a draft bill establishing the Digital Egypt Fund. The bill was approved by the Senate in December.

DATA POINT- Suez Canal revenues rose 46% y-o-y in January to USD 717 mn, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie told the House Defense and National Security Committee yesterday. Some 1.95k ships transited the canal this month, up 21% y-o-y. Net tonnage rose 16% y-o-y to 110.6 mn tons, he said.

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