File Photo: Egypt s parliament during a session. Al-Ahram
A report prepared by the House's Transport Committee said the amendments to the 1956 law regulating the performance of the General Authority for River Transport (GART) aims to streamline Egypt's river transport services and operations, which have been neglected for so many years.
"This will come through making GART the main regulator of river transport operations in Egypt, and through opening the door to private investments (both local and foreign) in this sector," said the report, adding that "this sector should be a magnet for private investors and a major source of revenues to the state treasury in the coming stage."
The report also stated that "this bill also comes as part of the government's efforts to restructure the national economy, and make its vital sectors, particularly transportation, more attractive to private investments," adding that "the government's current philosophy is focused on upgrading the decades-old legal and legislative framework of many sectors and rehabilitating them to contribute more to the national income."
Chairman of the House's Transport Committee Alaa Abed said the river transport sector has been neglected for decades and that the time has come to put it to economic use.
"This neglect has put it out of the interest of private investors and made it almost of no economic and financial benefit to the national economy," said Abed.
Abed indicated that the 1956's law regulating the performance of the General Authority for River Transport (GART) has become too outdated, and that the time has come to help this authority make an optimal use of river transport services.
He explained, moreover, that "under the current law, the ministry of irrigation and river units affiliated with provincial governorates are the ones responsible for supervising inland navigation and Nile River waterways, but in accordance with the new amendments the GART will take over all of these powers to become the main regulator of river transport and inland navigation activities in Egypt."
According to Abed, "GART will also be in charge of drawing up development plans for the establishment, operation and management of Nile River ports and docks and that through "the one window system" private investors (both local and foreign) will be able to get facilities from GART to set up companies to manage, operate, and maintain Nile boats, floating units, and cruise ships."
Fees charged by GART for river transport services and the use of river ports would be changed to reflect inflation rates, said Abed.