Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities Assem El-Gazzar said the plans to attract investors come within the framework of the Egyptian state’s tendency to enhance the attractiveness of economic sectors for investment, increase economic growth rates, and provide job opportunities. In an interview with Daily News Egypt, he answers to question related to Emaar Misr Development Company two projects in Sheikh Zayed City. He also responds to question on the Ministry of Housing consideration of attracting investments in Egypt.
The ministry seeks to attract investments in the real estate sector. What procedures are taken to facilitate this mission?
The ministry seeks to attract further Arab and foreign investments in the local real estate sector, facilitate land allocation procedures to investors, and solve any problems that were faced in previous periods.
We had recently signed investment agreements with major real estate companies, including Emaar Misr, in the presence of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and company officials, to confirm their commitment to supporting the increase of investment rates in the sector.
Emaar Misr Development Company is developing two projects with integrated urban activity on an area of 620.9 feddan in Sheikh Zayed City after signing a final reconciliation agreement between the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) and the company, along with another agreement to allocate a plot of land along the Sheikh Zayed City with investments amounting to EGP 50bn.
The plans to attract investors come within the framework of the Egyptian state’s tendency to enhance the attractiveness of economic sectors for investment, increase economic growth rates, and provide job opportunities. El-Gazzar said that the Ministry of Housing, represented by the NUCA, is considered one of the largest agencies attracting investments in Egypt, whether foreign or local, as the NUCA works on offering lands with various areas and activities that provide opportunities for companies.
What about new cities. How can it help to attract investments?
The housing ministry recently started the implementation of a large number of development projects in new cities, among which are the fourth-generation cities, the first stages of which will be opened in the middle of 2020.
We plan to attract investments work within the framework of the National Strategic Plan for Urban Development in Egypt 2052, which aims to double Egyptian urban areas from 6% to 14%, in order to provide various development opportunities.
El-Gazzar said that providing investment opportunities is preceded by a study of the needs of new cities, which is done through the planning and projects sector in the NUCA, which is the main guide for planning projects, and defining development programmes in all fields.
The sector, in the past year, has obtained ministerial decisions to approve urban design, planning, and division for about 109 urban and service investment projects, which will be established on a total area of about 34,000 feddan in 17 new cities. About 1,900 building permits have been issued for those projects so far.
The projects will contribute to pumping investments in the local market, and working to provide about 220,000 direct job opportunities next to thousands of indirect job opportunities, which lead to advancing the development of new cities, and working to pump foreign, and local investments in them.
And what about the contribution of the new projects?
The new projects contribute has increased the area of Egyptian urbanisation, especially since the current area is no longer able to meet the economic needs of steadily increasing population.
Can you tell us about the direct contracting mechanism introduced by NUCA?
I believe that the direct contracting mechanism introduced by NUCA has achieved great success and may be attributed to the developers and investors being now able to select lands in new cities, thus obtaining various investment opportunities in these new cities.
The new mechanism has received a wide response from investors as it aims to facilitate procedures and increase the pace of development in new cities, especially fourth-generation cities.
He pointed out that NUCA is working to provide land to meet investment requests, and to absorb companies’ appetite for expansion in the Egyptian real estate sector, especially in light of the current political and economic stability.
The concept of urban development is not only limited to the construction of cities and housing units, but also extends to all aspects of development in various fields, including agriculture, industry, education, etc., for example, in New Alamein, the first activity to be attracted was universities.
The Urban Egyptian market has shown a good performance in 2019. How does the State aim to keep it up?
The Egyptian market is one of the largest developing, especially in the field of urban development, which has achieved a growth of more than 5%, as these projects provided a large number of direct and indirect job opportunities.
The state is working within the framework of an integrated plan at the government level, and aims to promptly push development rates, implement the largest number of projects in the shortest possible time, and at the highest quality, and provide the largest number of job opportunities and cooperation with developers and investors to participate in the current urban development process.
Local councils have mandates to provide resources for permanent spending on new urban cities, maintenance of various projects that are implemented in them, maximising returns from implemented projects, and speeding up investor problem solutions to achieve the desired interests of projects that are being implemented, and providing many investment opportunities in new cities.
We are working to change the management philosophy so that the new cities become a source of income rather than a source of spending money,he said.
During the current year, the Ministry of Housing will offer housing units and lands for different income brackets in new cities distributed in Ganna, Sakan Misr, and individual land in the most distinctive and social housing axes.
The state has interest in developing Upper Egypt and providing various services by pumping billions of investments in new Upper Egyptian cities to provide civilised planned areas for housing and investment in Upper Egypt.
The housing ministry implemented a number of projects in the areas of housing, drinking water, sanitation, and roads, in 2019.
“In 2019, 437,000 housing units, varying between social housing units, medium housing, and luxury housing, were made available, along with the units that are implemented on the plots of land that the ministry has made available to citizens in all segments, in addition to the housing units implemented in projects in partnership with the private sector.
T 54 projects for drinking water have been completed, with a capacity of 1 million cubic metres per day, 76 projects for sanitation with a capacity of 1.3m cubic metres per day at a cost of EGP 10.1bn, and 165 projects for the sanitation of villages, at a cost of EGP 2.6bn. The ministry also constructed 25 roads projects extending over 732 km at a cost of EGP 8bn.