The government must solve the problems of the 1,000 factories project in New Cairo quickly to enable the enterprises in the area to begin production, said the Association of Investors for Small and Medium Enterprises (AISME) in Cairo.
Head of the association, Hesham Kamal, said that there are 157 factories operating out of 908 factories. Investments for construction amount to approximately EGP 3bn but 87% of these investments are not working or operational.
Officials in the association held a meeting on Saturday with parliament’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) committee and gave a report on the problems in the area, such as periodic water outages due to incomplete infrastructure for the factories, as well as the 10-year tax exemption.
This area falls within the EGP 200bn initiative launched by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to support SMEs. Investors receive a 300-sqm plot of land and establish their factories on an area of only 180 sqm.
Kamal said 41 investors applied to obtain loans under the initiative; however, just one investor obtained a EGP 400,000 loan out of the EGP 2.4m he requested.
Deputy of the parliamentary SMEs committee Hala Abou El-Saad said that the committee will not tolerate any banks’ violation of Al-Sisi’s initiative. The president’s plan aims to support young people to eliminate unemployment. He allocated EGP 200bn to this initiative with a declining interest rate over 5 years.
The total loans came from the initiative are estimated at EGP 1.3bn, most of which went to giant projects that are outside the goal of Al-Sisi’s initiative. Abou El-Saad said they “will not be silent on this matter”.
The 1,000 factories project is suffering from not being able to obtain licences from the Civil Defence Authority. Civil protection requirements are the same for both giant and small projects.
The Civil Defence Authority asked for equipment worth EGP 400,000 from some factories, but Abou El-Saad explained that it is not rational to require SMEs to pay these amounts.
The SMEs committee will visit the area soon to inspect the situation on the ground. The committee is working on amending legislation related to the SMEs civil protection requirements.