CAIRO: A project to expand the network of natural gas to reach poor areas will be funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a soft loan of $500 million, according to a Tuesday presidential statement.
More than 77 percent of the loan is an non-refundable grant; the rest will be paid back over 28 years. The closing date of the project is June 2019.
The project consists of three components: increasing households’ access to natural gas, providing financial support for poor families to pay for the supply, and developing the information and management systems of the natural gas sector.
“The third component, institutional strengthening will contribute to the improvement of the governance structure and fiscal transparency and accountability at Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and will support development of the gas sector regulations,” the abstract of the project on the World Bank website reads.
Some 1.5 million homes in 11 governorates will be supplied with natural gas, rather than Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, which are less safe and are mostly imported.
Among the 11 governorates are Sohag, Qena and Aswan, three Upper Egyptian governorates with a poverty level higher than the national average. About 52 percent of the targeted homes are located in poor areas, according to the World Bank.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi approved another loan Tuesday from the European Union of 67.6 million euros in an “urgent” employment program. The program will provide short term job opportunities for youth, who will work in infrastructure projects, and enhance the capabilities of unskilled workers.