Egypt’s business digest Sept. 28: Moody’s says Egypt faces large financing needs, but economic conditions gradually improving
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CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top business news stories on Sept. 28 here:

BRIEF-Moody’s says Egypt faces large financing needs, but economic conditions gradually improving

* In addition to private consumption, Egypt’s economic growth will be predominantly supported by public and private investment

* Egypt faces large financing needs, but economic and fiscal conditions are gradually improving Source text for Eikon:

 

President El Sisi Meets Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority

(Press Release)  President Abdel Fatah El Sisi met with the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, SCA, Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish. Vice Admiral Mamish reviewed overall developments with regard to the SCA’s activities including the operation of the canal’s waterway and attracting more ships to use it.

He highlighted the new canal’s impact on reducing navigation times for the vessels and presented proposals on transit tariffs. The meeting also tackled progress in the construction of tunnels under the canal, which the SCA Chairman said, will contribute to the enhancement of the transportation system in this area, in addition to other advantages as well as strategic and economic returns.

Vice Admiral Mamish gave an overview of efforts exerted to enhance the Suez Canal Authority and its affiliated companies. This is in addition to projects currently being implemented by the authority as part of the societal development of the canal’s cities including El Raswa bridge which links Port Saeed and Port Fouad cities and which will be inaugurated during the national day of the governorate of Port Saeed on December 23.

The Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority also reviewed the progress in the implementation of fish farms by the authority in line with President’s El Sisi’s instructions to accelerate their implementation and increase their numbers.

President El Sisi commended the SCA’s efforts to constantly enhance and modernize its performance. This is in addition to the authority’s role in societal services and implementation of projects for this purpose in the Suez Canal zone. The President emphasized the need to continue efforts to enhance the SCA and maximize its resources.

 

Egypt’s move to ditch government wheat inspectors upsets traders

(Reuters) Egypt has hired Swiss company SGS to inspect wheat cargoes before they are shipped, replacing government experts who have done this in the past, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

The move has caused confusion among trading companies which have relied on the government quarantine inspectors to check the quality of the wheat before shipment to Egypt.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat buyer, has just reversed a zero-tolerance policy on the common grain fungus ergot after this effectively cut the country off from global grain markets.

It has adopted instead a common international standard that permits up to 0.05 percent in imports.

Ergot can cause hallucinations when consumed in large amounts but is considered harmless in low quantities.

Egypt also decided to scrap the process of sending a team of six government officials to the port where the wheat was being shipped from. It will use a private company – SGS – instead to handle the inspections.

Agriculture spokesman Hamed Abdel-Dayem told Reuters that SGS was chosen for this role, but it was not clear whether the government’s own agriculture quarantine inspectors would continue to play a part.

“SGS is the company assigned to deal with the inspection. That means it will have the freedom to see how it will carry out its work, which might include hiring or consulting with experts — we don’t yet know,” Abdel-Dayem said. He did not give a reason for the change to a private company.

Abdel-Dayem also said that quarantine regulations would be revised to come into line with the 0.05 policy, though he did not specify when.

The decision to scrap government inspectors has upset traders, who said having these government quarantine inspectors sign off on wheat before it set sail reduced the risk that cargoes might be rejected on arrival in Egypt.

“The delegations (inspectors) work better as there are no surprises at discharge … but now we have to wait for arrival surprises,” one Cairo-based trader said.

The country’s state grain buyer GASC purchased 240,000 tons of Russian wheat one day after the lifting of the ergot ban, but the number of participants in the tender was low because traders said they required clarity on how their shipments would be inspected.

After initially receiving no bids in the tender, traders said GASC assured them that the usual quarantine inspections could be restored, a pledge the government has backtracked on, one Cairo-based trader said.

“The atmosphere here is very bad and nothing is clear,” he said.

GASC was not immediately available for comment.

Trading companies were told last week by the agriculture quarantine body they could also no longer hire Egyptian government inspectors to guarantee privately purchased cargoes from abroad, one supplier barred from doing so said.

“This moves my risk to the port of discharge, and this is a big problem for any trader,” the supplier said.

Agriculture quarantine head Ibrahim Imbaby earlier in the year had urged trade companies to use the government inspectors to clear their shipments, a move he said would greatly reduce risk of rejection.

 

Egypt, Switzerland discuss cooperation in demining  

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr met with Swizz Ambassador to Cairo Marjus Leitner on Wednesday, discussing a number of deals to be signed between two countries in November, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry.

The two sides tackled the Swiss support to demining and sustainable development in Egypt’s western coast and North Sinai.

 

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