Egyptian authorities have received around 2.275 million reconciliation requests for building violations nationwide, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a statement on Tuesday, as a six-month deadline for submissions is set to expire by the end of September.
In January, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified a law allowing owners of illegally constructed buildings to settle with the state, with the exception of violations pertaining to safety standards, authorised height or purpose, and historic buildings, among others.
Madbouly praised the high turnout by citizens looking to reconcile, the Cabinet’s statement said, adding that the premier has continued to supervise developments on the ground concerning solving the long-standing issue of illegal buildings and to ensure all reconciliation procedures are facilitated for citizens.
Madbouly affirmed that the state is keen on ending this issue that has lasted for dozens of years and legalising millions of illegal structures.
Concerning building violations on muddy lands on both sides of the Nile River and its northern branches of Damietta and Rosetta, Minister of Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aaty said warnings have been issued to many governorates as the Nile flood this year can inundate some of these lands, the Cabinet statement read.
Madbouly said this precautionary measure has been taken to ensure that citizens inhabiting illegal structures near the Nile are able to take all precautions and be aware of the expected danger.
“The government issues early warnings to reduce losses that may happen, even though these citizens are violators and have encroached on the Nile vicinity, but our goal is to protect their lives and properties,” the premier added.
Last week, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy said that around 320 centres have been designated to receive the reconciliation requests.
The reconciliation fees will be allocated for development in governorates and to upgrade the level of services provided to citizens, Shaarawy said.
Officials have announced a series of discounts on the fees ranging from 20 to 70 percent, depending on the governorate, with Cairo seeing higher discounts.
Discounts ranging from 15 to 25 percent on fees in new cities have also been announced.
Officials have stressed in the past weeks the adoption of “resolute” measures to stop building violations on agricultural land nationwide.
The country has seen a significant rise in illegal construction since the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising, with many people constructing multi-storey buildings without acquiring the necessary permits or complying with engineering safety standards.
It lost up to 400,000 feddans of land between 1980 and 2011, and an additional 90,000 feddans in the past nine years, to building violations and land encroachments.
Unplanned buildings constitute about 50 percent of the urban clusters in villages and cities countrywide, according to officials.