Power shortages are responsible for recent lower rates of cement production, the cabinet said Monday in an official statement. The lower cement supply has resulted in a wave of spiked prices.
Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, who heads the cabinet, met with Minister of Foreign Trade, Industry and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Minister of Energy and Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail and Minister of Environmental Affairs Leila Iskander on Sunday.
Omar Mehana, a board member at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FDI), and Medhat Stephanos, the head of the cement industry at the FDI, also attended the meeting.
Stephanos said in January that the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company had reduced gas supply to cement facilities by 50%, which resulted in an equal percentage of decline cement production.
During the meeting, Mehleb stressed the necessity of lowering the spiked price of cement as it can have a “serious negative impact” on the costs of implementing projects in the construction sector.
According to the statement, the attendees discussed possible means of addressing the energy challenges, saying that there is a need to “diversify energy sources” and “expand the usage of new and renewable energy”.
During February’s Future and Investment Opportunities in the New and Renewable Energy summit, the minister of petroleum said the absence of “diverse energy resources” is one of the main obstacles facing the country.
Current energy resources are “incomplete, uneconomical and don’t achieve visions of medium-long term development,” Ismail said. Around 95% of the country’s power comes from traditional energy sources.
Cement companies have promised to increase production to maximum capacities in order to increase the market’s supply and reduce prices, according to the statement.
The Ministry of Environmental Affairs Monday announced plans to review the “mixture of energy sources used in European countries” and apply the lessons learned to Egypt.
The ministry also stated that the use of coal as a source of energy is currently under study. “Coal, as a source of energy, is used in an arbitrary way in Egypt,” Iskander said in the statement.