Minister of Trade and Industry, Nevine Gamea, announced on Thursday that her ministry is working to settle arrears payable to 1,177 export companies. The payments, amounting to a total of EGP 1.5bn, will come from the Export Development Fund, to support the exporters during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a seminar run by the Engineering Export Council of Egypt, entitled “Crisis Management, Challenges and Opportunities”, Gamea said the ministry is looking to ensure continuity of production and export processes.
At the same time, the ministry is also looking to maintain the safety of workers in factories and companies, whilst following the state’s preventative measures put in place due to the ongoing pandemic.
Gamea added that the government is closely monitoring developments, and is currently working to support and provide incentives for local industries, reduce imports, and remove tariffs.
She pointed out that some exporters have successfully opened up new markets in countries that do not have local production, or whose production has been interrupted due to the coronavirus.
Gamea highlighted the government’s eagerness to provide medical supplies to workers, whilst enhancing communications with the business community should any positive coronavirus cases be detected.
Gamea indicated that imports have decreased 24% in the first quarter (Q1)of 2020. The decrease gives the incentive for local industry to increase their production to meet local needs and achieve the ministry’s strategy to replace imports with local products. This is also an opportunity for Egypt products to make inroads into new markets in countries where production has been affected by the coronavirus.