El-Sisi urges patience in face of power crisis

Ahram Online, Saturday 6 Sep 2014

Egyptian president says the country needs LE130 billion to develop its electricity sector

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi delivers a speech, during the anniversary of the 1952 Egyptian revolution, at the presidential palace in Cairo, July 23, 2014 (Photo: Handout provided by The Egyptian Presidency)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday that the country’s power crisis requires major funding and cannot be solved soon.

In a speech broadcast on state television, El-Sisi announced that Egypt needs no less that "130 billion Egyptian pounds in the next five years" to develop the electricity sector to meet the population's current needs.

A major power outage hit Cairo and several governorates on Thursday, paralysing the Cairo metro and knocking some local television stations off air.

Power cuts have become common in Egypt in recent years, but have worsened this summer. The Ministry of Electricity has said it is trying to conserve power in the face of fuel shortages and sabotage attempts on power lines.

In his speech, El-Sisi said that the government is dealing with investors to get the required funding to tackle the crisis.

He added that the country's electricity sector has suffered for decades from a lack of development and that its power plants need major renovation to create an adequate power system nationwide.

"This will not be solved soon," he said. "We are facing many challenges and no government or president will be able to overcome them alone."

He said he understands people's frustration, but urged them to be patient, adding that the power crisis is only one of the country's looming problems.

El-Sisi also mentioned the 11 security personnel who were killed in an IED attack in the tumultuous region of North Sinai earlier this week, saying that the government is battling terrorism and is working hard to ensure the safety of innocent civilians.

Egypt's army has been waging a major offensive against Islamist militants in the violence-ridden northern part of the peninsula over the last year.

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