During its meeting held Monday, a government Economic Group recommended that the possibility of allowing new cement factories to be constructed be studied, with investors providing the facilities’ energy requirements.
A proposal to provide facilities for building the factories is currently being considered, according to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb.
Cabinet Spokesman Hossam Al-Qawesh said that the economic group meeting concluded that there was an urgent need to expand cement production and increase production capacity to meet future needs.
Egypt has suffered from an energy crisis since 2011, which has put a brake on the local and global financial and business communities’ efforts to expand on the Egyptian market.
Al-Qawesh confirmed the government is taking steps and completing programmes to fulfil power needs in the near future. This covers supplying power stations with their fuel needs and providing the funding necessary to implement emergency plans.
Al-Qawesh said that Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour recently visited China. Abdel Nour found there is a strong will within China to sign a number of agreements with Egypt in the fields of business, civil aviation, and infrastructure projects for roads, transportation, and electricity. China is currently participating in the implementation of the high-speed electrical train project in Egypt.
He went on to say that the Prime Minister requested a meeting be held with the Ministers of Industry and Petroleum and direct-reduced iron (DRI) producers in Egypt to study modifying the price of natural gas for the industry. Natural gas represents a key element of chemical reactions necessary to produce DRI or “sponge iron” and does not just serve as an energy source for the process. The study must be thorough, Mehleb said, and take production costs into account for those factories.
The meeting also included a discussion of decreasing global oil and gas prices and their anticipated impact on the Egyptian economy, as well as the positive and negative aspects of these decisions. Those present also touched on taking steps to maximise the positive aspects of the phenomenon and working to decrease the negatives.
According to the press release, Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said during the meeting that debt owed to foreign partners has been reduced and agreements are underway to pay a portion of remaining dues in dollars and another portion in Egyptian pounds.
Mehleb stressed the need to take the measures necessary to increase the efficiency of the Holding Co. for Water & Wastewater and pay attention to maintaining water and sanitation networks as well as treatment plants. Mehleb also said that a study should be undertaken on a draft resolution to return the company’s assets in new cities to the executive bodies that manage the cities.