A file photo of Egypt's finance minister Mohamed Maait (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Ministry of Finance launched on Monday an initiative to support the tourism and hotels sector against the harsh impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait stated the initiative came in response to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's orders to support the economic and productive sectors affected by the spread of the virus.
The initiative includes offering a EGP 3 billion insurance credit for the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to give national banks to provide three-year loans to hotels and touristic facilities with five percent interest rate, Maait said.
He added the initiative covers the salaries of employees working in hotels and touristic facilities, which have to provide lists with employees’ names and bank accounts for their salaries to be directly transferred.
The initiative also covers operation costs and employees' salaries in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Maait said a committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the CBE, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and banks that will offer loans has been formed to follow up on the implementation of the initiative.
He added that hotels and touristic facilities have been exempted from paying real estate taxes for six months and dues on these facilities have been suspended for three months without imposing extra charges.
In April, Egypt's Minister of Planning Hala El-Said said that tourism revenues in the current fiscal year 2019/2020, which ends late June, are expected to reach about $11 billion instead of the $16 billion expected before the COVID-19 outbreak.