Around 6m tax-exempted Suez Canal investment certificates are ready to be issued, following the presidential approval of the certificates’ law, Governor of Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Hisham Ramez said Sunday during a press conference.
“We still await the decree that allows the Suez Canal Authority to issue the certificates,” Ramez said, adding that a protocol will be signed between the participating bank, the Suez Canal Authority and the CBE.
The National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and Banque du Caire were initially announced as the public banks to issue the certificates along with the Suez Canal Bank, which was selected because it was founded by the Suez Canal Authority.
Ramez said that the investment certificates are expected to collect EGP 60bn, which is enough to finance the first phase of the Suez Canal project.
He added that that the 12% return rate is not changeable and clarified that the four selected banks are the sole sellers of the certificates.
“Egyptians can’t trade it among each other and the certificate will be issued in the name of the purchaser,” Ramez said.
On whether or not the shares of the printed certificates will be equally divided among the four banks, Ramez said that banks will receive the certificates depending on the requests they receive for the certificates.
“Some clients have already started to make requests for the certificates at the banks,” Ramez said.
The CBE governor said that there will be no ceiling to acquire the Suez Canal investment certificates by Egyptians or for the amount featured in each certificate.
“If someone wants to buy EGP 5m worth of certificates, we’re not going to give them in the form of EGP 100 certificates,” Ramez said, explaining that the amount will all be included in one certificate.
Ramez stated that the foreign currency certificates are not ready yet. He mentioned that “priority at the current moment is for the Egyptian pound certificates”.
The CBE governor said that “if the Egyptian pound certificates succeed in collecting the EGP 60bn, no more will be printed”.
Egyptians living aboard can currently transmit their money in a foreign currency and convert it to Egyptian pounds to purchase the certificates.
“Banks will send representatives to schools for young students who want to purchase certificates,” Ramez said.
“The selected public banks have no advantage over private banks on the subject of the certificates’ issuance,” Ramez said, adding: “If anything it will be more working hours and administrative work.”
The government official said that working hours for the bank were extended to 6pm.
On how the issuance of the certificates will influence Egypt’s informal economy, Ramez said that cash demand for the investment certificates is expected.
“The figure of informal economy in Egypt is undefined; however, it is believed to be huge,” Ramez said.