GARPAD forms committee to follow up on Toshka
Saudi Arabia prince Talal bin Abdel Aziz - AFP
By AYA IBRAHIM

CAIRO: General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development (GARPAD) formed a committee Friday to follow up on projects of ‘Kingdom Holding’ company every three months.

The project is owned by Saudi Arabia prince Talal bin Abdel Aziz in Toshka region at upper Egypt.

The committee aims to tackle performance rates in the project since it was launched. It will create an inventory of the equipment needed to supply electricity. It will also implement  an irrigation networks and inland waterways along areas allocated for the project, which covers 25,000 acres after around 75,000 acres were withdrawn from the company as if they did not go ahead with cultivation.

The project faced several obstacles during the past three years due to the instability in Egypt witnessed since the January 25 Revolution in 2011, which led investors to become reluctant to invest in Egypt, head of  GARPAD Magdy Amin told Al-Mal newspaper Friday.

Amin said that GARPAD recently gave the company an additional three-year deadline; “in the case that the company does not abide with this deadline, all lands will be withdrawn.”

Amin said around 20 acers will be given to the graduated youth through public draw with instalments for 30 years and a grace period of three years. The drawing lots will be on 10,000 acers in Sinai and 10,000 acers in the New Valley, provided that the individual shall not own more than five feddans. The project allows the exploitation of 400 meters for each land for housing and the establishment of small projects such as broiler farms or apiaries.

In 2011, Talal had  to return 75,000 of 100,000 acres of his Kingdom Agricultural Development Company purchased in Toshka in 1998 for just LE50 per feddan. Toshka’s deal was suspended following the January 25 Revolution. After significant pressure on Talal, he agreed to the deal in June 2011 and abandon 75,000 acres of his company.

The Egyptian government now is attempting to investigate into granting Saudi businessman this land at half or quarter of the real value without the existence of any criteria except corruption and nepotism.

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