Thu, 14 Apr 2022 - 10:49 GMT
Thu, 14 Apr 2022 - 10:49 GMT
Meeting of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli and large cement and steel manufacturers at the Cabinet's headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on April 13, 2022. Press Photo
CAIRO – 14 April 2022: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli met Wednesday with large cement and steel manufacturers at the Cabinet's headquarters to discuss the hike in prices, which compose a crisis to under-progress constructions, whether at national mega projects or those undertaken by the private sector.
The prime minister noted that "the current timing mandates reaching a fair price for steel and cement so that ongoing projects do not get impacted, and for the efficient operation of such key industries to continue," as indicated by the press statement.
Madbouli added that the high rise in prices is in the interest of neither the state nor the manufacturers nor the real estate sector, which constitutes a significant share of the GDP (around 14 percent).
Further, the sector secures employment for millions of Egyptians, and had been contributing significantly to economic growth. Thus, the prime minister stressed the government's eagerness for growth rates to not slow down.
On their side, the manufacturers underscored that the prices fell remarkably over the past few days and that they will stabilize, if no disruption to the supply of raw material and production input occurs.
Simultaneously, Head of the Industry Committee at the House of Representatives Moataz Mahmoud, who is also the CEO of Qena Cement Company, said, "it is our duty to stand by the state in this crisis for work at factories and projects to carry on."
The businessmen similarly expressed appreciation for the state's keenness on coordination and cooperation with the private sector to push forward national industries, and alleviate the pressure imposed by the current circumstances the entire world is enduring.
They similarly affirmed support to the government in handling the ongoing global crisis, and maintaining economic growth. In that context, they pointed out that backing national industries is pivotal to sustain the local value chain.
The cement and steel manufacturers showcased that the products of those two industries are the only ones, in Egypt, whose prices drop, and not just rise, which had happened before.
Hence, they explained that the increase that happened over the past six months is justified due to the hike in prices of production inputs, particularly those of energy.
They also presented a comparison between such inputs' prices now and then, and between the prices of locally-produced cement and steel in Egypt and in other countries.
The head of the Industry Committee at the House of Representatives highlighted that those sectors suffer from an oversupply issue in Egypt, and that the government stepped in much to save such industries from collapse.
"Although we understand the variables at hand, but the prices are exaggerated to an extent. That is more particular on the side of intermediaries than that of manufacturers, as the former make more money than the latter" the parliamentarian added.
As a result, the MP suggested holding a meeting with the manufacturers, where the cost is calculated as well as "the fair margin of profit" so "we would be able to go through the crisis."
Besides, the prime minister directed Chairman of the Egyptian Competition Authority Mahmoud Momtaz to conduct a comprehensive study on the prices of cement and steel, and the rises that have happened recently. The data will be collected by holding meetings between the manufacturers and the authority.
The goal is facilitating the government's attempt to achieve the required balance in those two sectors, as stipulated by the prime minister.
Madbouli noted that the government cannot impose a price ceiling or intervene directly, given that Egypt is a free market. However, there are other mechanisms that can be adopted to fulfill the purpose, he underlined.
The meeting was also attended by Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities Assem al-Gazar; Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea; Chairman of the General Authority for Industrial Development Mohamed al-Zalat; and, Chairman of the Mineral Industries Chamber Emad al-Alfy.