Minister Hala El-Saeed of planning at House of Representatives (Photo : Egyptian Parliament)
A report prepared by the House's Budget Committee said the new legislative amendments will allow the private sector to work on designing, funding, implementing, operating, utilizing and maintaining public projects.
"The amendments also allows the state's administrative system to award contracts to private sector companies in a much easier way to implement most infrastructure projects in areas of transport, electricity, communications, information technology, water, sanitary drainage, education, etc," said the report.
The amendments also covers PPP (public-private-partnership) projects.
"A joint committee comprising specialists from the Ministries of Finance and Planning will be entrusted with selecting a number of PPP projects every year and to be part of the annual socio-economic development plans," said the report.
Planning Minister Hala El-Said said private sector participation in infrastructure projects will be governed by feasibility studies reflecting national priorities and the state's Vision 2030 agenda.
El-Said also indicated that the amendments were drafted to make sure that they do not contradict the law regulating the performance of The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) which aims at maximising the profitability of the state's unutilised assets.
However, House speaker Hanafi Gibali said Article 17 should be redrafted to dismiss any contradiction between the amendments and TFSE law.
Gibali said Article 17 of the law will be discussed Monday before the amendments are put up for a final vote.
Chairman of the Budget Committee Fakhri El-Fiqi explained that the new amendments will help simplify procedures required for winning project contracts and eliminate administrative obstacles which will make it much easier for private companies to tap into the field of mega projects.
El-Fiqi said the participation of the private sector in implementing infrastructure projects will be very important in the coming stage. "The value of infrastructure projects in Egypt reached EGP 6 trillion over the last six years and is expected to double in the next years," said El-Fiqi, noting that "PPP projects, in particular, have become a major part of the government policy because it relieves the state budget of gross financial burdens and widens the scope of private participation in mega-development projects."
Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait agreed that the amendments will make it much easier to award the private sector with infrastructure project contracts. "But let all know that private companies are awarded direct contracts (without bidding procedures) only under certain procedures. This kind of contract is granted only when we see that a certain private company is the only one with experience in a certain field of works," said Maait.
The House's Deputy Speaker Mohamed Abul-Enein said it is very important that the government eliminate bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of the private sector implementing infrastructure projects. "This law encourages private investments in mega development projects which generate a lot of job opportunities," said Abul-Enein.