Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated on Thursday two new factories at the Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals complex in Abu Rawash, Giza governorate.
One of the two factories will produce medical and industrial gases, and the other hydrogen peroxide.
The president was accompanied at the event by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki.
The Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals is owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces' National Services Projects Organisation.
The new factories
Chairman of Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals Major General Mokhtar Abdel-Latif said at the inauguration that the first factory producing medical and industrial gases would provide the needs of more than 100 hospitals, and the Egyptian Ambulance Authority with 30,000 oxygen cylinders.
The second factory producing hydrogen peroxide would help meet the needs of textile, paper and medicine factories, he stated, adding that approximately 15,000 tons of hydrogen peroxide had been imported annually.
The Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals runs 37 factories in Giza, Fayoum and Ain Sokhna.
Supplying local needs
The head of the National Services Projects Organisation, Major General Mostafa Amin, stated at the event that the organisation's companies working in food industries and heavy industries provided 15,000 job opportunities to youth from all educational backgrounds and from across Egypt.
Amin added that the organisation was currently working in the agricultural and food industry fields, such as in land reclamation and fisheries, as well as in industrial chemicals, granite and marble factories, engineering, mining and services fields.
"The organisation aims to supply the local market with its needs as much as it can," Amin said.
With 23 countries currently working under its umbrella, the National Services Projects Organisation was founded in 1979 to supply the demands of the Armed Forces.
Armed Forces' companies
President El-Sisi said at the inauguration that the companies owned and operated by the Armed Forces should be listed on the stock exchange.
"The Egyptians will buy shares in these companies. It is an opportunity for them," President El-Sisi said during the inauguration of two factories at the Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals complex.
The military’s economic activities appear to have expanded over the past years, varying from supplying food commodities, producing various goods and carrying out construction projects.
El-Sisi has discussed the topic of the army's perceived influence over the economy several times before. He said last year that the military's economic activity made up only around 2-3 percent of the country's gross domestic products, dismissing speculation that the Armed Forces control as much as half of the economy.
The President added that the government was working in the past three years to enlist public sector companies in the stock exchange.
In 2017, Egypt released a list of 23 state-owned companies to be enlisted on the bourse as an initial batch as part of the government's economic reforms programme.
"The Egyptian army does not do this role [building and operating projects] on the expense of the private sector. The private sector is welcomed to participate and to have partnership with the army," El-Sisi said at the inauguration of the two factories.
The president added that the private sector was working with the Egyptian army on various strategic, critical projects.
Sovereign Wealth fund, media, parliament
The Egyptian president also addressed the prospects of Egypt's Sovereign Wealth Fund.
"The Sovereign Wealth Fund, which will be start operation soon, will be huge, reflecting Egypt's abilities," said El-Sisi, adding that the fund would include Egypt's assets, expressing the economic power of the state.
El-Sisi also stressed the important role the media plays in clarifying facts to confront "the war of rumours" Egypt was currently facing, urging media outlets to have a more effective impact in explaining truths to the public.
The Egyptian president called on members of the House of Representatives to exercise their responsibility in investigating and following up on issues that concern the public.
"You are the representatives of the public and their guardians. As an institution, you are responsible for protecting the Egyptian state, not the regime," El-Sisi said.