New capital moves

Ahmed Morsy , Friday 13 Jan 2023

State employees will relocate to Egypt’s New Administrative Capital by March.

The new capital is preparing to receive its residents
The new capital is preparing to receive its residents


“Both our workplaces will relocate to the New Administrative Capital before April,” a husband and his wife, who are among the 30,000 public employees who expect to be moved to the Government District of the new capital, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The wife’s workplace will move to the new capital later this month, while the husband is due to be relocated in March.

The couple have two children, one aged nine, the other 13, and moving in the middle of the school year will be difficult for them, they said.

“We cannot shift their schools in the middle of the year,” explained the wife. Her husband added that the end of March will coincide with Ramadan, meaning he will have to travel to and from the new capital while fasting.

Khaled Abbas, chairman of the state-owned Administrative Capital for Urban Development Company, said last weekend that 30,000 public employees will have their work relocated to the new capital by March, a move that has been delayed for almost a year.

In November 2021, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi ordered that government offices and state employees be gradually relocated to the Government District of the new city beginning the following month. It was envisaged that the relocation would involve a six-month experimental phase during which government buildings and electronic systems could be tested.

Abbas indicated that the relocation started last week, with employees from two or three ministries being relocated on a weekly basis until the end of April.

The wife said she had been informed that buses will be responsible for transporting her and her colleagues to and from the new capital. The husband has yet to be told whether his department will lay on transport.

According to Abbas, the as yet to be completed monorail, the already operating light rail transit (LRT), and shuttle bus terminals will be available for employees who live outside the new capital.

He noted that 9,000 housing units have been reserved for public employees moving to the new city, and work is currently underway to finalise financing arrangements with banks so they can be handed over to employees. Delivery of the units is expected to begin by March.

The cabinet had earlier announced that the first phase of a housing development for government workers in neighbouring Badr City included 376 residential buildings, comprising nearly 9,000 housing units. The project is being built at a cost of LE3.2 billion.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli has promised that state employees whose workplaces are relocated could opt between choosing a transport or housing allowance.

According to official statements, the average cost of constructing an apartment is LE700,000. Employees who are unable to move to Badr city will receive a transport allowance, starting at LE2,000 a month.

The couple said they had both submitted requests to buy a unit in Badr city. The wife’s was accepted, on condition of a LE35,000 deposit.

“We have a 103 square metre house, though we haven’t been informed of the timing of delivery or how the rest of the purchase price is to be paid,” she said. If it is delivered in March we will face the prospect of moving in the middle of a school year, and during Ramadan, both of which seem insurmountable hurdles, she added.

According to Abbas, the area has 10 fully functioning schools and a further 10 are under construction. Shops have also started operating and all goods are available, he claimed. In addition, there are six universities and new faculties open regularly.

The first phase of the new capital covers 15 per cent of the total area — 184,000 feddans (720 sq km) — of the new capital which has been under construction since 2015.

President Al-Sisi has hailed the inauguration of the new capital and relocation of government employees as marking the “birth of a new republic” and “a new era of modern governmental work”. The project is an integral component of Egypt Vision 2030 which aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and expand urban areas to cater for Egypt’s rapidly growing population.

Located between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, 60 km away from downtown Cairo, the new capital will house 6.5 million people when completed and cover twice the area of the current Cairo governorate.

The Government District comprises 10 ministerial complexes that will house 34 ministries, the cabinet headquarters, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Built on 1.5 million square metres, it will host nearly 50,000 employees when fully operational.

In June 2022, the government approved a presidential decree redrawing Cairo’s eastern border to include 46,000 feddans of the new capital, including the site of the new headquarters of the House of Representatives and Senate. The constitution requires both bodies be located in Cairo.

A version of this article appears in print in the 12 January, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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