Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat have witnessed the signing of a joint cooperation protocol for issuing mobile tower building permits.
The signing continues the two ministries’ efforts to develop Egypt’s communication network infrastructure, in line with the government’s plan for digital transformation.
Fouad said the protocol will review the technical requirements needed to approve the licensing to build mobile phone stations and towers using the latest technologies.
These developments aim to support the telecommunication networks infrastructure, whilst facilitating the procedures for issuing environmental permits and licences.
The minister added that the protocol covers three years, subject to renewal, and serves as a rapid response to the development process. It is recognised that the process needs to be undertaken quickly, and requires simplifying procedures so that they may be completed in 10 days.
She stressed that every effort will be made to establish mobile towers at a specific time without harm to the environment and human health.
Fouad said that the Ministry of Environment is working hard to counter electronic waste file, taking into account legislation such as the new waste management law.
Its executive regulations are being discussed with all ministries, including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The minister said that cooperation is taking place between the Ministries of Environment, and of Communications and Information Technology, to launch an awareness campaign for citizens.
The campaign focuses on a two stage approach, including the safe disposal of waste providing incentives through the launch of the E-Tadweer application.
The application enables citizens to get rid of their electronic waste, and creates incentives for users. These are in the form of discounts and coupons that can be used when purchasing electrical devices or any other products from companies that support this application.
The second stage involves calling on citizens to reduce their consumption of electronic devices.
Fouad also indicated that, through the cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the digitisation of nature reserves will take place, especially in the Red Sea and South Sinai areas.
Visitors will not need to obtain a ticket to visit, which will facilitate procedures for tourism companies and tourists to visit the reserves electronically. An integrated system has been completed for that project, which is currently in the trial stage. It also facilitates the Ministry’s control and oversight of operations.
For his part, Talaat said that cooperation with the Ministry of Environment has taken place in a number of areas, the most prominent of which is the safe, scientific disposal of discarded electronic devices.
He noted that such waste has become a threat to the environment, and that actual steps are being completed regarding this based on scientific methods that ensure healthy recycling of electronic waste.
Talaat said that developing the communications network infrastructure is one of his ministry’s main pillars in the strategy to build a digital Egypt.
He also said that the Ministry is keen to expand the number of mobile phone network towers, to improve communication services and their nationwide coverage, ensuring citizens can access optimal digital services.
Talaat added that committees were recently formed to facilitate the procedures mobile companies need to go through to obtain tower licences and permits from the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA).
Moreover, coordination is underway with municipalities to build additional towers to accommodate the steady increase in the number of users in the Egyptian market.
He added that this protocol aims to define the environmental requirements for the construction of mobile towers, using the latest technologies in compliance with health and environmental safety standards. This will happen in parallel to facilitating the procedures for issuing environmental permits and licences.
Talaat noted the importance of the Ministry of Environment’s role in establishing these towers, and thanked the latter for the fruitful and constructive cooperation in completing this file.
According to the protocol, it was also agreed to form a technical committee of specialists in the Environmental Affairs Agency and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA).
This would review the requirements contained in the protocol concluded on 17 February 2005, in accordance with technical, scientific and environmental developments.
The two parties agreed to adopt the recommendations and the attached plan, which were issued by the coordination meeting held between the concerned parties.
This relates to the environmental permit procedures to establish mobile stations, in addition to overcoming all difficulties without affecting Environment Law No 4 of 1994. This would take into account its executive regulations and amendments, as well as the Telecommunications Regulatory Law No 10 of 2003.