Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait has announced the launch of a new initiative supporting Egypt’s tourism and hotels sectors as they face the negative repercussions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
This initiative would enable tourism and hotel establishments, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fulfil their salary obligations, and meet basic employment requirements.
Maait explained that the initiative implements presidential directives to support economic sectors affected by the pandemic, so that workers are not harmed and receive their salaries.
The initiative includes the Ministry of Finance providing EGP 3bn worth guarantee to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). It will let tourist and hotel establishments take out loans over three years from national banks at an annual interest rate of 5%. The loans will have a general grace period starting from 1 May without any guarantees, and can be repaid in monthly instalments to distribute the burden over two years.
Maait added that this aims to cover employee salaries at tourist and hotel establishments, ensuring spending on the operations’ basic needs does not exceed 15% of the value of the loan granted to the facility.
He explained that tourist and hotel establishments will provide the lending banks with statements of their employee names and their bank account numbers. This will ensure that salaries are transferred directly from the bank to the employee.
Maait indicated that a committee has been set up formed of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the CBE, and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Lending banks will follow up on the initiative’s implementation to ensure continued support of the tourism sector.
Maait added that it has also been decided to drop the real estate tax on hotel and tourist establishments for a period of six months. The payment of all dues on tourist and hotel establishments has also been postponed for a period of three months, with these establishments not facing fines or delay payments.