Amgad Mounir, the supervisor of the white taxi project replacing old taxis with new white ones, revealed the public treasury has financially supported the project with approximately EGP 1.5bn.
His comments were released as part of a statement issued Monday by the Ministry of Finance.
The announced amount represents the total funding provided for the project since its inception in 2009 until the current period.
Mounir added that the Ministry of Finance is planning on gradually extending the project to all governorates in the country. He pointed out that the ministry is now arranging with the Ministry of Interior, banks, car companies and an insurance company to reach this goal.
Mounir said that AlexBank promised to exempt white taxi owners from repaying interest rates that were supposed to be paid for three installments extending back to 2011.
The exemption will apply only to taxi owners who were regularly repaying loans to the bank.
The statement added that the bank promised to study the cases of those who do not pay their dues regularly to review the possibility of granting them concessions in repayment. This will only take place on condition of regularly meeting the repayment of their dues. Each one of those cases will be studied separately, the statement added.
Mounir further noted that taxi owners who stopped repaying loans owed to other banks should go to the lenders and ask for rescheduling installments. Other banks that participated in the project of providing loans to taxi owners have promised to study each case separately and to provide them with concessions while maintaining the rights of their banks.
According to Mounir the Ministry of Finance is dedicated to supporting and meeting the legitimate demands of taxi owners. He highlighted that the ministry intervenes to provide this support by making sure that automobile and insurance companies provide vehicles and services at low prices.
Regarding the demands of some taxi owners who seek to acquire more advantages, Mounir said that any financial benefits should be provided under a specific legal framework.
In 2009, taxi drivers had sold old taxis to the government for EGP 5,000, as part of a government scheme replacing old vehicles with new ones. The government then provided the drivers with new vehicles, which cost EGP 61,000 if purchased with cash or EGP 90,000 for those who paid in installments.
The Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) had previously claimed that after the 25 January Revolution, many taxi drivers experienced difficulties paying installments to lending banks on time due to the increased chaos, insecurity and thefts that taxis were exposed to.
Furthermore, in April 2013 taxi drivers demanded the cancellation of remaining installments as well as the tax hikes that increased from EGP 50 to EGP 280.