By Salah El-Monoufy
Hatem Saleh, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, confirmed that the Egyptian economy is capable of overcoming the current stage, particularly because Egypt has a strong infrastructure, which makes high growth rates possible within the coming period.
In a statement, the minister said that during the coming period the ministry will focus on creating an attractive atmosphere for local and foreign investments and helping the Egyptian economy stabilise. The ministry also plans to help factories with stopped or faltering production. A survey of problematic factories was recently undertaken in cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt and the banking sector.
The minister noted that the ministry is preparing a package of rapid measures to facilitate investment in the industrial sector. Directors of the Ministry’s authorities were asked to prepare a memo outlining measures that they believe will encourage investment. These measures are to be announced in the coming days.
Saleh requested that the Ministry’s leaders to take firm decisions and not to postpone any decision that could help solve investors’ problems.
During his meeting with the leaders and presidents of the Ministry’s authorities and divisions, the Minister stressed the importance of supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These projects, he said, create jobs and contribute to reducing unemployment. In addition, he emphasised the importance of technical and vocational training across different sectors. He also focused on the Training for Employment initiative, which is currently in progress, in co-ordination with the Federation for Egyptian Industries, to train and employ 100,000 workers.
Saleh added that the Ministry is striving to improve the Egyptian trade balance in comparison to different countries of the world. This can be made possible through increasing exports, limiting imports, taking advantage of signed commercial agreements such as the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA), as well as agreements to which Egypt is not yet party such as Mercosur. The minister confirmed that the ministry will continue its programs that support the exports sector and increase the competitiveness of Egyptian products in foreign markets.
He also called on directors of the Export Development Fund to pay late subsidies to exporters. In addition, the minister stressed the importance of employing new standards to expand local manufacturing.