In Photos: Egyptian state seeks to restructure subsidies not eliminate them: President Sisi

Ahmed Morsy , Saturday 14 Aug 2021

The president's remarks came during a ceremony to inaugurate various housing projects in Badr City, northeast of the capital

Sisi/housing event
The president toured housing units which are being constructed in Badr City to accommodate state employees set to be relocated to the New Administrative.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Saturday that the state seeks to restructure the process of providing subsidies for Egyptians not eliminate the subsidies for various commodities, which amount to EGP 275 billion annually.

El-Sisi’s made these remarks during a ceremony to inaugurate various housing projects in Badr City, northeast of the capital, where he is set to open 47,876 housing units.

After the inaugural event, the president toured housing units which are being constructed in Badr City to accomodate state employees set to be relocated to the New Administrative Capital.

The state “bears a huge cost” to provide alternative housing to the Egyptians, the president said.

The aim behind the national, mega projects that are being implemented by the state is to improve the living conditions of citizens, he noted, adding that the state does not get any profits from such projects.

The cost of subsidisation is nearly EGP 3 trillion in ten years while the cost of developing the entire Egyptian countryside is one-third of such cost, the president noted.

Sisi/housing event
Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar accompanies President El-Sisi on the tour of housing units in Badr City.

The Decent Life Initiative, whose budget is estimated at EGP 700 billion, is being implemented with the aim of improving standards of living, infrastructure and services, and targets 58 percent of Egypt’s 102-million population, who live in 4,658 villages across the country.

 “I’m not saying this so as to cancel subsidies, but to restructure it,” he indicated.

The president's comments on subsidies come days after he said that while the state plans to continue subsidising bread, the price of a subsidised loaf, however, should be raised from a decades' low of 5 piastres so the government could use savings to provide students with much needed meals in schools.

El-Sisi said the Egyptian state needs to exert all efforts to bring about "a bright future," stressing "that things cannot continue as they were in the past."

The president noted that he deals with all critical issues in a systematic way, stressing that he chose to follow "the difficult path" of reform.

"People say that I chose the very difficult path; if I chose the easy path I would have just kept the poor in their predicament and would have just raised subsidies,' he said.

 “I must arrange the cards in this country' in order for it to become an country of significance."

Sisi/housing event
Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar accompanies President El-Sisi on the tour of housing units in Badr City.

Meeting housing needs amid population growth

El-Sisi added that "unplanned population growth hinders the state's development strategy," and that the expansion in the construction of unsafe housing “has been destroying the country since 2011.”

Egypt’s population of 102 million increased by nearly 2 percent growth rate in 2020, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

The expansion of the housing sector and elimination of slums has been an area of intense focus for the state in recent years, with 1,426 major housing projects built in the last six years alone, according to housing ministry’s figures.

Plans to eliminate slums have progressed in tandem with the development of new urban communities.

According to the Informal Settlements Development Fund (ISDF), unplanned residential areas comprise 40 percent of urban construction in the country and are home to 22 million people.

The ISDF says the government hopes to eliminate unplanned residential areas entirely by 2030.

The model housing communities which have been built to relocate hundreds of thousands of slum residents include Asmarat complex in Moqattam, Masaken Othman, the Mahrousa Projects, and Bashayer Al-Kheir.

Since 2014, as part of the state's efforts to meet population growth, the housing ministry has constructed 165,958 housing units at a cost of EGP 41 billion, and is currently working on an additional 74,927 units.

El-Sisi also pointed out that he is keen on solving the problems in all sectors such as roads, ports, airports and water to change the lives of citizens from a "no state to a state".

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki, Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar, other state officials and top army commanders.

Madbouly, from his side, said that the problem of overpopulation should be seriously handled.

The housing issue was very important for the state over long decades, he said, adding that the state has adopted a strategy for handling the overpopulation problem, based on building new cities and overhauling old houses.

The state gave due attention to the file of housing over the past seven years in order to improve the living standards of Egyptians nationwide, Madbouly said.

Over the past seven years, the state was successful in doubling the establishment of housing units in Egypt, compared to the past 40 years, according to him.

Madbouly further mentioned that the state builds 225,000 homes in one year and aims to increase the construction work in the period to come.

Sisi/housing event

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