President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has requested the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) offer tourism facilities low-interest funds amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a presidential statement on Monday evening said. The presidential directive is aimed at supporting tourism facility operations whilst also ensuring the sector’s employees remain in work throughout the crisis.
Al-Sisi’s request came during a meeting with CBE governor, Tarek Amer, and ministers, including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly; Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany; Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said; Minster of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat; Minister of Finance, Mohamed Moeit; Minister of Civil Aviation, Mohamed Manar; Minister of Public Enterprises, Hesham Tawfik’ and Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea.
Egypt’s tourism infrastructure should be well prepared to receive travellers again following the sector’s resumption as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends, Al-Sisi added during the meeting.
Al-Sisi highlighted the importance of continuous work on various tourism projects, adding that the real estate tax on hotel and tourist establishments will be dropped for six months. Payment of all dues on tourism and hotel establishments will also be postponed for three months without fines or delay benefits. The decision to postpone payments on tourism establishments is based on an agreement between the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities, and Finance.
The meeting touched on the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, and the government measures to mitigate its effects on citizens and affected sectors, the statement added.
It also said that Al-Sisi has requested a support loan for the aviation sector with a grace period of two years. This comes in addition to highlighting that the Ministry of Finance bares some of the financial burden of supporting the civil aviation sector through repercussions of the current crisis.
Al-Sisi said that 30% of exporters ’dues will be paid to the Export Support Fund, or at least EGP 5m for each exporter, before the end of the current fiscal year (FY) 2019/2020. He added that the authorities will announce a package to support affected companies through the postponement of real estate tax payments and instalments for three months.
The state will grant EGP 500 a month to irregular workers affected by repercussions from the coronavirus crisis for 3 months. The grant comes in addition to the setting up of an emergency fund at the Ministry of Manpower with immediate effect to ensure salaries of affected regular workers are still distributed, Al-Sisi said.
Minster of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat oversaw the talks with international financial institutions to secure financing for the Egyptian government on concessional terms. The funds will help the government deal with the fallout related to the coronavirus crisis.
Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, said the virus’ repercussions serve as economic indicators. Institutions worldwide are now reviewing their economic activity estimates, all of which project the global economy’s entry into a recession.
Unemployment rates are significantly increasing in many countries as a result of the coronavirus, alongside a parallel decline in global trade movement. Many countries are enacting protectionist measures to deal with the crisis and limit its effects on their economies, El-Said added.