By: Ahmed Salama
A number of Egypt’s industrial centers have seen their production lines shut down in recent weeks, with factories suffering heavy losses due to strikes and protracted lapses in security throughout the region. Many factory employees have been unable to show up to work due to roadblocks, particularly those working in the port facilities of Port Said.
Magdi Al-Kamal, President of the Port Said Investors Organisation, demanded that government officials find common ground and end the country’s political deadlock, in addition to addressing the demands of the families of those who died in Port Said during and after the football stadium massacre of February 2012. Lack of investment and the slowing down of commercial activity in the province, he said, has so far cost businesses and investors nearly $150m in losses.
Magdi Abd Al-Manam, President of the 6th of October Investors Organisation, said that for the most part the city’s production and work flow has remained stable, but that repeated road closures combined with the country’s deteriorating security situation has at times prevented some employees from attending work.
Mohamed Al-Qalyubi, President of the al-Mahala Investors Organisation, reinforced the need for political compromise on behalf of the government and protesters, saying that the country’s current problems were not exclusively due to the practices of the Ministry of Interior but also the country’s polarised political environment.
Mohamed Al-Bahi, a member of the Board of Directors for the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said that the country’s economy would continue to deteriorate if the nation’s various political parties could not reach an agreement.
Mohamed Al-Murshidi, President of the Investors Transit Association, criticised protesters engaging in clashes with the nation’s security forces, accusing them of spreading a negative image of the country that will negatively affect investment.
He also criticised local businesses and companies who have recently taken to hiring private security guards to protect their facilities, saying that this practice will lead to the establishment of armed citizen militias which will in turn perpetuate the region’s cycle of violence.
Mohamed Al-Shabrawi, member of the Timber Production Chamber within the Federation of Egyptian Industries, corroborated the claim that a number of businesses have taken to hiring private security guards to protect their facilities as a result of protracted lapses in security.
Additional reporting by Mustafa Fahimi and Marwa Mafrah