Egyptian banks have sold over LE6 billion (approximately $856 million) worth of investment certificates to finance the digging of a parallel Suez Canal, Central Bank of Egypt governor Hisham Ramez told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website Monday evening.
Four state-owned banks, Bank Misr, the National Bank of Egypt, Banque du Caire and the Suez Canal Bank started issuing the much-anticipated investment certificates on Monday morning, attracting an "unprecedented" number of customers, according to Ramez.
Other banks can order certificates for customers upon request.
Opening hours were extended in some branches of issuing banks to 6pm to meet the demand as long queues appeared in the midst of nationwide power outages on Thursday morning.
The certificates, limited to Egypt nationals and corporations, are issued at a value of LE10, LE100, LE1,000 and its multiples, with a maturity of five years at a 12 percent interest rate.
There is no ceiling to the amount of certificates a single individual or corporation can acquire.
Egyptian expatriates can buy the certificates from banks overseas with ties to issuant banks in Egypt, in Egyptian pounds.
The government is aiming to collect LE60 billion ($8.4 billion), needed for the digging of the Suez Canal extension and six tunnels that will link the east and west banks of the canal.