Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that the state is proceeding with a clear plan to increase exports and deepen industry and local products, in addition to the unprecedented revenues achieved by the Suez Canal, and Egyptian expatriates’ remittances.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, Madbouly highlighted that work is being done to support tourism despite the challenges the world faces in this sector to increase hard currency resources and reduce the import bill.

Madbouly noted that the whole world is currently suffering from several shortages, however, the Egyptian state is taking many measures to adapt to the situation.

He also pointed out that the state is taking many measures to relieve pressure on resources that demand hard currency, elaborating that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi directed the launch of an unprecedented social package that will be launching in September. The package aims to reduce burdens and pressure on the Egyptian citizen.

“The import bill has doubled as a result of global circumstances, consequently, the Egyptian state accelerated the operation of the Zohr gas field to save hard currency,” Madbouly said.

“There is a challenge to rationalise energy consumption in the whole world, and the main challenge that Egypt is facing is maintaining hard currency and reducing the import bill — especially in terms of petroleum products, wheat, and corn — given the recent price hikes for basic commodities. Accordingly, the government is working to increase its stock of hard currency by increasing exports and deepening industry.”

He also pointed out that the state is working to benefit from the available natural resources, including natural gas, adding that the President directed the government four years ago to prioritise the Zohr gas field project to benefit from its production.

“Before operating this field, we were importing natural gas. The Zohr field enabled Egypt to meet its domestic needs and achieve an export surplus,” Madbouly explained.

Moreover, he said that the bill for importing natural gas has increased globally, while more than 60% of natural gas production in Egypt is directed to power stations, and therefore the state supports the pricing of electricity in an extraordinary manner.

“The electricity pricing carried out by the state… The value of gas is calculated by one tenth of its actual value in the global market. Moreover, the fluctuation in currency led to a change of the KW/hour price to rise from 109 piasters to 119 piasters. Accordingly, the state bears great burdens to support the citizen.”

Last October, the electricity and petroleum ministries agreed to replace gas with diesel to generate electricity, as the state used more than 60% of its natural gas production to generate electricity, according to Madbouly.

“The more we rationalise gas consumption, the more we export it and save hard currency, so we tried to replace gas with diesel to generate electricity and we were successful. We have achieved a surplus and exported it over the past period at an average of 100 to $150m per month without reducing electricity consumption.”

Therefore, there is a push to rationalise electricity consumption in government buildings in general, the PM explained, adding that after the end of the official working hours, electricity is cut from all government buildings, except for units that have a special nature of work.

Additionally, the state will be reducing street lighting in main axes in coordination with the governorates and electricity and housing ministries in order to reduce electricity consumption.

Moreover, the government sent directives to commercial malls with central air conditioning that the temperature of the air conditioning be adjusted to 25 degrees or more.

Likewise, the government has directed rationalising electricity consumption in large sports facilities such as stadiums and covered halls, imposing a lights-out time.

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