Egypt Independent

The joy over the Suez Canal versus the economic reality

The completion of the Suez Canal project and the great celebration of it has raised the morale of the people because it was a national project that was done accurately, efficiently and in time. 
I do not want to disappoint the Egyptians, who rarely celebrate, nor do I want to criticize the regime in these difficult times. But everyone should know that certain decisions were taken that could harm Egypt's economic and political future.
1 – No one heard, not even the experts, of a feasibility study for the project. This is extremely dangerous.
2 – No one knows the exact budget of the project. It was said that it cost LE64 billion, in addition to two loans from Egyptian banks for US$400 million each. And no one knows precisely how much was paid to the foreign and Egyptian companies that worked on the project. These things must be known to all.
3 – What the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said about short and long term revenues was not based on economic calculations, but on his own speculations. Also, what he said about angels hovering over the workers is metaphysical talk that should not be said about such a huge work of engineering.
4 – Studies published in many economic and specialized newspapers and magazines around the world, in addition to research conducted by Egyptian firms, all pointed to the following huge economic disadvantages:
– The increase in revenue is contingent on an increase in international trade, which seems would not likely take place in the next ten years.
– The channel already allows more than 30 ships to cross per day, which means the project is not really feasible economically.
– Reducing the crossing time by seven hours would not really yield a significant return.
– Completing the project in just one year has increased costs significantly.
5 – There was no single study published by the government or the army, the two bodies that supervised the project, which is strange in a modern civil state that is supposed to work with transparency.
6 – According to experts, more important is to develop the eastern area of the canal with huge projects, which means we should have invested in the infrastructure of that area in addition to the tunnels that were dug under the channel.
7 – Perhaps deepening parts of the existing channel would have been more useful and less expensive.
8 – We need more transparency, and the opinion of experts should be considered before embarking on mega-projects.
Finally, we were all happy with the project, but we are fear the revenues of it, which belong to the people, would not be spent properly.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Tags Suez canal