Opening of new Suez Canal waterway to be funded by donations

Ahram Online , Friday 5 Jun 2015

Suez Canal
Bulldozers and trucks are seen in a demonstration of the equipment which will be used as part of plans for a major upgrade of the Suez Canal, in Cairo August 5, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian government will fund the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal waterway through donations from the public and contributions from participating dredging companies, to avoid any burdens on the state budget, the canal authority head Mohab Mamesh said on Friday.

The flagship project of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's economic programme is set to open at an inauguration ceremony in August. World leaders have been invited to the event.

State television quoted Mamesh as saying the dredging companies are expected to contribute to the cost of the opening ceremony, as they have made profits from the project.

Last year, six dredging companies signed a contract to create the new channel alongside the existing Suez Canal.

The companies are National Marine Dredging Company of the United Arab Emirates; Royal Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord, both based in the Netherlands; Jan de Nul Group and Deme Group, both Belgian; and US-based Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company.

The public will also be able to contribute via a specially designated bank account.

Since he took office in June last year, El-Sisi has embarked on an economic reform programme, restructuring the state budget in an effort to trim a ballooning deficit.

The mega-project to expand the Suez Canal, alongside plans to build an industrial hub and supplies and logistics centre in the vicinity of the canal, are at the heart of El-Sisi's development plans.

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