Hazem Hegazy, CEO of retail banking and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), at the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), and Ahmed Abdel Razek, chairperson of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), signed a cooperation protocol to finance SMEs under the “Your factory is ready” initiative in new industrial cities.
According to Hegazy, this protocol comes in the framework of the NBE’s interest to support SMEs in general and industrial projects in particular.
He said that the cooperation with the IDA reflects both entities’ exerted efforts to support the industrial sector, so as to produce high-quality Egyptian products at affordable prices to compete with imported products. This strategy aims to reduce imports and ease the demand for foreign currencies, as well as create new jobs.
The IDA is responsible for establishing factories, providing utilities, and issuing licences for investors, while the bank provides financing services for factories with a low yield. The IDA allocates industrial zones to SME owners in order to promote their activities, Hegazy said.
He added that the protocol contributes to the implementation of IDA’s strategy which aims to establish 21 industrial zones by 2020. The first phase of the strategy includes three industrial zones. The first zone is allocated for food, pharmaceutical, and engineering industries in Sadat City. The second zone is allocated for textile industries in Badr City, while the third one includes multiple industrial activities located in the Raswa area in south Port Said.
According to NBE vice chairperson Mahmoud Montasser, the total portfolio of SMEs reached EGP 28.4bn and serves 51,600 projects.
He said that the bank has allocated credit facilities, amounting to EGP 6.4bn, for 9,200 projects under the Central Bank of Egypt’s initiative to support SMEs. It reflects the bank’s interest in financing these projects.
The NBE has established 72 specialised centres in Greater Cairo and Alexandria to serve these types of projects, in addition to the bank’s branches all over the country, so as to provide high-quality services and expedite the decision-making process, according to Montasser.
He pointed out that the NBE aims to increase the loan portfolio for SMEs to about EGP 9bn by the end of the current fiscal year.