The Ministerial Economic Committee made decisions to limit imports by encouraging domestic products and move towards the restructuring and development of the public sector, during its meeting on Monday.
“Priority will be given to the purchase of domestic products at the expense of imported ones,” cabinet spokesperson Hossam El-Kawish said. The government will introduce measures to encourage purchasing local products in coordination with the relevant parties.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and attended by the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), as well as the Ministers of Planning, Housing, Electricity, Supply and Internal Trade, Finance, Investment, Transport, Agriculture, Petroleum, Trade, and Industry.
El-Kawish said encouraging domestic products will help limit imports, which will improve the foreign exchange situation until tourism and foreign direct investments improve.
In efforts to further cut down imports, the committee also agreed to a future plan to increase the cultivated area of maize to reduce its import; Egypt imported about $1.6bn worth of maize in 2015.
The plan, according to El-Kawish, also aims to increase the cultivated area to 1m acres instead of the 500,000 acres currently being cultivated, to produce 3.5m tonnes of corn. “In 2018, the area will be increased to 2m acres, so the overall production of maize amounts to 7m tonnes,” he said.
El-Kawish said the amount of imported maize increased due to increased animal production and poultry farms, which contributed to a rising need for animal feed and raw materials compared to previous years.
The committee also agreed to sell five pieces of land owned by the Holding Company For Maritime & Land Transport, owned by the Ministry of Investment, to use the revenues in the reconstruction of the ministry’s faltering companies.
Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said the lands will be sold to contribute to the advancement of the public business sector through development and restructuring operations.
The General Assembly of the Holding Company for Maritime & Land Transport recently approved a restructuring plan for transportation and bus companies. The plan included the possibility of providing self-financing through the sale of five pieces of land owned by the company to use the revenues in implementing the restructuring plans.
The holding company’s bus fleet has become outdated, and has required replacement for several years, he said. El-Kawish said the report prepared by the Ministry of Investment on the holding company shows that the replacement and renovation of the bus fleet will generate revenues and profits for the holding company’s portfolio.