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Egypt's PM stresses 'resolute' measures against building violations on agricultural land

Egypt has lost up to 490,000 feddans since 1980 to building violations and land encroachments

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Sep 2020
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Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reiterated on Saturday the state’s adoption of ‘resolute’ measures to stop building violations on agricultural land nationwide.

At a press briefing in Qalioubiya, Madbouly said building violations and land encroachments were among the most important and complex issues and challenges facing the state.

He said the state aims to overcome a decades-long crisis through reforms and putting an end to further violations and accumulated mistakes, adding that failing to address the issue would lead to its exacerbation.

Madbouly announced on Saturday a 25 percent discount off the settlement fees for citizens seeking a full reconciliation payment without installments.

He said reconciliation fees for building violations in rural areas were set at EGP 50 per metre as ordered by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The prime minister said the reconciliation is not meant as a punitive measure against the people who own illegal buildings, but rather to rectify the status of their assets. 

“The goal is for everything to be legal, instead of them [building owners] being exposed to corruption and fraud to receive services (water and electricity),” he said. At a press conference on Wednesday, Madbouly said the government will stand against unplanned construction and building on state lands.

He said Egypt lost up to 400,000 feddans between 1980 and 2011, and an additional 90,000 feddans in the past nine years, to building violations and land encroachments.

Unplanned buildings constitute about 50 percent of the urban clusters in villages and cities countrywide, Madbouly pointed out.

He vowed to introduce new facilities for citizens wishing to rectify the status of their buildings to encourage them to speed up the submission of settlement requests.

Egypt said on Friday it has reduced reconciliation fees over building violations by 20 percent to 70 percent in 23 governorates, with Cairo seeing higher discounts.

Egypt has seen a significant rise in illegal construction since the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising, with many people constructing multi-storey buildings without acquiring the necessary permits or complying with engineering safety standards.

In January, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified a law allowing settlement with the state over building violations, except for those pertaining to safety standards, authorised height or purpose, historic buildings, and others.

The law sets a six-month deadline, which will expire by the end of this month, to put an end to violations in the country.

Egypt is implementing a nationwide campaign to demolish illegal buildings that do not meet the requirements of reconciliation stipulated in the law. The government has already announced the removal of thousands of encroachments over the past few months.

In late August, President El-Sisi slammed building violations on agricultural land in a heated speech, and waved at deploying the army if the problem persists. 

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