Head of Importers Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Ahmed Shiha said that there are US polices that put pressure on the Egyptian pound in attempts to exert more control in Egypt.
In a meeting that discussed Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) policies with regards to the provision of the US dollar, Shiha explained that these policies resulted in the devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar, especially since a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not yet received by Egypt.
Shiha criticised the governmental facilitations that encourage foreign investors over Egyptian investors, noting that 90% of foreign companies receive huge returns without any tangible investments in Egypt that can lead to development.
“The CBE policies caused the closure of many import companies because of daily fines paid to the ports that delay the release of the goods until they pay up with the dollar,” added Shiha.
Shiha demanded that the CBE raise the capital of exchange companies to $50m, and the closure of offending companies.
On his part, the Head of the Medical Supplies Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Mohammed Ismail Abdo said that the US dollar could be devaluated to EGP 6 or less with tight policies.
Abdo explained these policies impose strict control over exchange companies through the appointment of an observer from the CBE to monitor these companies and how they follow the rules of the buying and selling of the dollar. The penalties for breaking the rules are three years imprisonment and the confiscation of the seized funds.
He suggested issuing bank certificates called the “golden pound” for a month, which means that every saved dollar in CBE will receive an interest rate of 15% of the local currency in order to encourage small-and medium-scale business to deposit US dollars.
“If the government does not protect the local industry, it won’t protect foreign industry,” added Abdo.
The Cairo Chamber of Commerce divisions will submit an urgent memorandum to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb that demands a review of the CBE’s decisions that resulted in the scarcity of foreign currencies thereby harming Egyptian importers.
In addition, the policies have harmed production in many sectors, threatening to increase unemployment rates and sending a negative message about the investment climate in Egypt.