Egypt released imports worth $1.2 billion last week, says gov't

Ahram Online , Saturday 31 Dec 2022

Egypt released goods worth over $1.2 billion between 24 to 30 December as part of the government's ongoing efforts to resolve the imports backlog in order to keep the country’s production processes functioning at full capacity.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and cabinet members during a tour of Alexandria port on Saturday 31 December 2022 to follow up on customs clearance of commodities and goods. Photo: Egypt's Cabinet.


The announcement was made by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in a press conference on Saturday at the Port of Alexandria, where he, alongside cabinet members, followed up on customs clearance of commodities and goods.

The released amount included $686 million worth of production inputs, $195 million worth of food products, $189 million worth of fodder, $35 million worth of medicines and medical supplies and $16 million worth of chemical substances, Madbouly elaborated.

Vast quantities of goods, including production inputs, have been accumulating at Egyptian ports amid a shortage in foreign currency due to economic shocks caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Today's announcement raises the amount of released imports in December to nearly $6.2 billion.

Last week, the government said it formulated a plan in cooperation with the banking sector to accelerate the clearing of the ports, announcing that it released goods worth $5 billion from ports between 1 to 23 December.

It added that the remaining amount were valued at $9.5 billion.

The government gives the priority to food products, food manufacturing components, medicines and production requirements, Madbouly told the press conference that was held on the sidelines of his inspection tour of development projects in the coastal governorate.

The volume of goods that will be released from the ports will be announced on a weekly basis within the framework of directives issued by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Amid the port clearance efforts, the Central Bank of Egypt announced on Thursday the cancellation of the use of letters of credit (LCs) for imports, which was mandated since March instead of the direct payment through the documentary collection system, to alleviate the pressure on foreign currency.

The LCs, which obliges paying the total value of imports in advance to a bank that then acts an intermediary between the importer and exporter, has caused imported goods to be held up at ports.

Madbouly said the government is engaged in periodic meetings with several parties in order to release all held up imports soon.

The government, he added, also has developed a plan to pay the arrears of importers sequentially in cooperation with the central bank.

Madbouly gave his assurances that the government has a plan to secure its foreign exchange resources beyond the fiscal year, which ends on 30 June 2023.

The prime minister also stressed that no government body is allowed to issue any decision to increase, impose or amend any fees for services without being referred to the cabinet.

The step aims to maintain the stability in the market in the coming period, Madbouly explained.

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