Govt to encourage investment in Sinai

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Amin Abaza announced that the government will allow Egyptian investors to begin agricultural projects in Sinai, projected to reach a total value of LE100 billion. The plan, which comes amidst government efforts to boost exports to LE200 billion a year, includes some 50,000 feddans of land in Sinai using a usufructury rights system for a period of 49 years.

In a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Abaza said his ministry is currently working on providing such plots of land in South el-Qantara, Bier Abd and other areas. He added however that the arrangement excludes foreign investors because of government restrictions on foreign ownership of land in Sinai.

Abaza affirmed that the government will provide investment incentives by providing water, energy and transport requirements for these projects to succeed. It will also help investors export their products, the minister added.

Abaza further said that negotiations are taking place with Saudi Prince Walid bin Talal–whose company owns 120,000 feddans encompassed by the Toshka Project–to ensure that his company uses its total land area, of which only a limited part has so far been reclaimed.

Abaza said they will present Talal with three alternatives: full cultivation of the entire area of land with government-procured water, a partnership with Egyptian investors, or relinquishing his rights to part of the land.

Al-Masry Al-Youm had published on 8 February the full text of the contract allocating 120,000 feddans in Toshka to Prince Talal’s project. The contract gave Prince Talal what seemed to be unreasonable privileges, given the scale of the Toshka undertaking which has cost more than LE6 billion.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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