Trade minister: No substitute for energy imports to meet industrial needs

Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Monday that the energy problem will prevail this year and continue next year, and that there is no alternative but to import energy to ensure the operation of factories and meet the needs of the industrial sector.
“The problem would not be solved before 2016,” he said.
He also said natural gas contracts would be reviewed so as to ensure that production prices match international levels. “We will also focus on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power,” he said at a meeting with the Chamber of Construction Materials.
“We are completing the infrastructure for 35 industrial zones in 22 governorates by the end of June,” he said. 
Medhat Estephanos, board member of the chamber, called for quick solutions for the energy crisis in Egypt, the biggest problem facing companies producing building materials.
“Many factories generate energy from solid waste because gas and fuel oil are not available,” he explained, adding that even this is difficult because the local councils do not commit to more than a three-year supply of solid waste. “The local councils should commit to 25 years of supply,” he said.
Mostafa Abdel Moneim of the ceramics division said 400 factories of clay brick buy gas and fuel oil for high black market prices. “Also unofficial production units in desert regions should be legalized so that we benefit from them,” he said.
Mohamed Ismail of the insulation materials division said factories should be allowed to expand vertically so as to increase production. “Thereby, we would not have to allocate more land lots to factories in satellite cities,” he said.
Board member Ahmed Hafez said local products should be given priority over imported products in government projects so as to support national industries.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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