Egypt considers divesting 250 state-owned companies

Ahram Online , Thursday 8 Jun 2023

Assistant Prime Minister Osama El-Gohary said on Thursday the government is considering divesting its stakes in 250 companies under its privatization programme.

Egyptian PM Mostafa Madbouly. File photo

El-Gohary's remarks came during a meeting with a delegation from the US Treasury Department, which is visiting Cairo to discuss Egypt's privatization programme and its progress. 

“The committee supervising the privatization programme has identified 800 companies with governmental stakes. It has been decided that 250 of the 800 companies can be offered now. The committee will decide when and how the rest can be offered,” El-Gohary said in a statement published on the Egyptian cabinet's Facebook page.

Egypt, which has been suffering from a shortage of hard currency -- chiefly the US dollar -- announced in February a privatization programme to sell stakes in 32 state-owned companies to collect $2.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year on 31 June. 

The programme is part of the government's commitments under the 46-month loan programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Although the commitments include selling state-owned assets, the government has, so far, only announced that it would sell state-owned Paint and Chemicals Industries (PACHIN) and a stake in Telecom Egypt, although the latter had not been included in the initial 32-company list.  

Meanwhile, Egypt is awaiting a review from the IMF to receive the second loan tranche, amounting to $347 million.

The review, which was scheduled to take place in March, was postponed to June. The IMF has not yet conducted the review owing to the difficulties preventing Egypt from fulfilling all its commitments. Nevertheless, sources inside the IMF said the review will be conducted by the end of June. 

IMF senior resident representative in Egypt, Said Bakhache, told Ahram Online on Wednesday that Antoinette M. Sayeh, deputy managing director of the IMF, will visit Egypt next week to meet with Egyptian officials to discuss the state of the economy. She is also expected to discuss the reforms needed to ensure the stability of the Egyptian economy and boost inclusive growth. 

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