Egypt’s central bank extends facilities for clients, tourism workers due to the coronavirus

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 23 Dec 2021

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced the extension until the end of June 2022 of its facilities adopted to mitigate the severe repercussions of COVID-19.

File Photo: Central Bank of Egypt s headquarters. seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, September 7, 2017. REUTERS

The CBE’s measures were slated to be enforced until the end of December 2021.

The measures include exempting clients from all fees and commissions on banking transfers that are carried out using the Egyptian pound, opening electronic portfolios for free, and suspending fees and commissions on transfer operations between mobile phone wallets and from mobile phone wallets to banking accounts. 

They also include suspending fees and commissions on cash withdrawals, as well as issuing contactless prepaid cards for free, according to the CBE.

The CBE also extended for a year the suspension of fees on cash withdrawals from ATMs for pensions.

The bank maintained the limits it had set in March 2020 for electronic payments via mobile phones to EGP 30,000 per day and EGP 100,000 per month for individuals, and EGP 40,000 per day and EGP 200,000 per week for corporations.

The CBE said that the action comes under the National Council of Payments, chaired by Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The implementation of these measures in Egypt’s banking sector since March 2020 has cost the CBE about EGP 9 billion, according to the central bank.

Since March 2020, the CBE has been adopting a package of preventive and pro-active procedures to protect the economy against the implications of the pandemic and to alleviate the financial burdens on citizens.

The CBE has also decided to extend its initiative to support the tourism sector through the end of December 2022.

Within this one-year extension, banks will receive the sector’s workers who desire to postpone the due date of the loans they had obtained for three years maximum.

The same applies to loans tourism workers obtained for mortgage and consuming purposes. 

In March 2020, CBE Governor Tarek Amer instructed all banks to introduce more measures to support the tourism sector.

Besides the CBE’s initiative to support tourism, it extended credit facilities for tourism enterprises to be paid over a maximum of two years with a six-month grace period.
According to the CBE’s statement, these measures are meant to facilitate tourism enterprises' payment of salaries and financial dues to suppliers.

The procedures are in line with the state’s preventive and precautionary efforts to contain the repercussions of COVID-19, especially on the national economy.

The CBE launched on 8 January an initiative to back the tourism sector, allocating EGP 50 billion to finance tourism enterprises that are willing to renew or replace their hotels and marinas with a decreasing eight percent interest rate.

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