Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi slammed "doubters" in a speech given on the occasion of the first anniversary of the inauguration of the New Suez Canal in Ismailia governorate Saturday, El-Sisi assured that the project has been a success.
According to El-Sisi, the project has already spurred growth, with further success set to materialise in a few years.
The 72 kilometre-long parallel waterway to the Suez Canal, inaugurated last year, aims to facilitate the passage of a larger number of ships through the canel, with an expected increase of total annual revenues to more than $13 billion by 2023.
The Suez Canal Authority stopped releasing data on revenues in March, when the waterway’s income slowed for the third consecutive month to $396.4 million from $401.4 million in February and from $411.8 million in January.
Mohab Memish, head of the Suez Canal Authority, refuted claims during the celebration Saturday about a decline in revenue, adding that US dollar revenue grew by four percent during the period 1 January 2016 to 6 August 2016 compared to the same period last year, reaching $3.2 billion.
“The revenue was supposed to be affected by the 14 percent drop in global trade volume from 2014 to 2016, but the new canal helps us to avoid that,” Memish said during his speech marking the celebration
"Every achievement is met with doubt," El-Sisi exclaimed, adding that "doubters" seek to "turn the Egyptians' will and hope into frustration and despair."
The president said that four logistics tunnels have been dug so far under the canal, each five kilometres long and constructed by local companies.
"Destruction is easy, but building is difficult," El-Sisi said after giving examples of state projects that have been publicly criticised.
"There is constructive criticism but there is also destructive criticism," he added, while adding that government institutions need to be more transparent with the people.
Referring to the failed assassination attempt on former grand mufti Ali Gomaa Friday, El-Sisi stated: "God protected us." He added: "God protects the good, those who build."
Finally, El-Sisi commemorated scientist and Nobel Prize winner Ahmed Zweil who died Tuesday and urged Egyptians to donate to the university that he recently set up. The university needs funds of EGP4 billion and has only so far collected EGP300 million, according to El-Sisi.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attended Saturday the one year anniversary of the New Suez Canal project, which was opened in a grand ceremony this day last year.
The mega-project to expand the Suez Canal, alongside plans to build an industrial hub and supply and logistics centre in the vicinity of the canal, have been at the heart of El-Sisi's development plans.
El-Sisi attended the celebration in Ismailia where new tunnels crossing the Suez Canal are being constructed as part of the mega-project.