Construction companies working on government-assigned projects will continue working at full capacity, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has announced.
The decision comes despite government’s precautionary measures against the coronavirus (Covid-19), such as social distancing and work from home. Construction projects usually require close human contact, with many workers travelling from across Egypt to building sites.
The precautionary measures have been put aside in the case of the construction industry to ensure projects with a national interest currently under development are completed quickly.
Madbouly said that, with its demands on as many as 90 other industries, the construction sector remains of utmost national importance, providing jobs and fulfilling development goals. He added that it contributes significantly to the nation’s progress, particularly in difficult times like these, whilst also recognising the need for taking the necessary precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
Madbouly also requested that contracting companies take the necessary precautions to combat Covid-19 whilst continuing to work at full capacity in all locations.
In the event that contracting companies halt work, a major slump may occur in the contracting sector, which contributes 22% to Egypt’s GDP.
Contracting companies welcomed the government’s request to continue work, adding that they will continue to pay full dues for the previous periods.
Assem El Gazzar, Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, announced, on Tuesday, that contracting companies will be reimbursed EGP 3.8bn in dues.
El Gazzar said, during a meeting with Madbouly on Wednesday, that his ministry is working with construction companies to implement precautionary measures at construction sites against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He added that construction work will be completed to compensate for the past period.
El Gazzar issued decree no.168/2020 which will allow real estate developers to estimate the number of units in their projects in line with the permitted maximum water supply. The decree will support companies is projected to decrease construction costs for companies, and contribute to a decrease in property prices.
Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, Chairperson for the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), announced on 23 March that the number of workers at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) had been reduced by almost 50%.
Abdeen added that no NAC projects have been suspended, although the reduction in workers is aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus amongst ACUD employees. He also said that the company has used a health centre run by the Ministry of Health to screen the labour force and conduct periodic tests at various locations.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Saturday that the opening of major national projects will be postponed to 2021.
During a meeting with Madbouly and El Gazzar, Al-Sisi urged that the highest precautionary levels be implemented at construction sites to ensure worker safety. This would include the provision of all health and safety requirements across all sites. Al-Sisi also said that the transfer of ministries to NAC be postponed to next year.