By Ehab El-Dobaby and Mohamed Ayyad
Within the coming days, a number of officials and executive directors of Qatari companies operating in Egypt will engage in negotiations with the Egyptian government. The negotiations will hopefully streamline several conflicts pertaining to the investment contracts that were signed by these companies before the 25 January revolution.
During President Morsy’s meeting with Hamad bin Khalifa, the ruling Emir of Qatar, Egyptian Minister of Finance, Momtaz El-Saeed, said the Qatari side asked to review all of its investments in Egypt, hoping to overcome all impediments curtailing further investment in the country.
El-Saeed added that in return, Qatar pledged to deposit $2 billion in the Central Bank of Egypt, as soon as the their investments in Egypt have been reviewed.
In addition, the Cabinet’s Committee for Settling Investment Contracts (CCSIC) is in the process of reviewing the status of the recently troubled investment projects.
Diar Real Estate Investment (DREI) Company is considered one of the most important Qatari companies working in Egypt. DREI suffers several conflicts with the government and has previously filed a petition to the CCSIC to reach an agreement regarding the two cases. DREI purchased two plots of land from Al-Montazah Company for Tourism and Investment in Sharm El Sheikh in 2006, with the approval of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA). The Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, then purchased a third plot of land from Al-Montazah with the approval of TDA and paid for the land in full. However, when DREI proposed to combine the three plots of land together and establish a new joint-stock company, the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) rejected the proposal. GAFI’s rejection was based on the fact that the proposal violates Law 350 for the year 2007, which stipulates that foreign investments in South Sinai projects should not exceed 49%.
DREI filed another petition when it was unable to establish a comprehensive tourist area across 25 million square metres in Hurghada. A report issued by CCSIC last April noted that DREI is facing charges before the administrative court. The charges called for annulling the contracts of allocating the 25 million square metre area.