Egypt aims to manufacture 30 million fabric facemasks monthly to meet the domestic market need amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Minister of Trade and Industry Niveen Gamee said on Sunday.
Gamee made her comments during a meeting held on Sunday with ready garments and textile industry representatives to discuss procuring the state’s needs for fabric facemasks depending on the current capacities of operating plants and the reopening of stalled factories.
Minister Gamee said that the ready garments and textile sector is committed to providing facemasks in accordance with the quality standards set by the health ministry and to offer them for reasonable prices, especially with the imminent implementation of the COVID-19 pandemic co-existence plan as of mid-June.
She added that the fabric facemask production process is going to commence over the coming few days with the production of 8 million fabric facemasks in the first phase, which will be delivered to the Unified Pricing, Medical Supply and Logistics Authority tasked with providing the masks to all state bodies.
“Egypt’s industry sector has a significant opportunity to be a core center for fabric facemask manufacturing especially with the increasing global demand for these kinds of facemasks. Egypt has production input which leaves room for increasing production to meet the domestic market needs and then exporting the excess quantities to the external markets,” according to Gamee.
She added that 12,700 small ready garments and textile plants have received funds from the Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Development Authority (MSMEDA) since 2015, and that these plants will be linked to the larger factories.
For their part, ready garments and textile plant representatives stressed that the sector has significant production capacities, and that the fabric facemask production is a breakthrough for these plants, especially with the global recession that hit the world due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Starting last Saturday, wearing facemasks in public places has become mandatory in Egypt, with violators facing severe fines that reach up to EGP 4,000, according to the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s decree issued on 19 May.
Wearing facemasks has become mandatory for workers or visitors at markets, shops, malls, banks, governmental and private institutions until further notice.
On 9 April, China’s Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang inaugurated a new plant for manufacturing medical facemasks established in the free industrial zone in Cairo.
The plant was established with joint Egyptian-Chinese investment. It will have a total production capacity of 1.7 million masks per day, which is expected to boost Egypt’s production of medical facemasks eightfold.
Liqiang said the plant is a reflection of the profound relations between Egypt and China, adding that China is supporting Egypt’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak crisis.