Interview: Business leader says Egypt's trade, industry not affected by COVID-19, praises China's experience

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 20, 2020
Adjust font size:

by Mahmoud Fouly, Emad al-Azrak

CAIRO, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Trade and industry in Egypt haven't been affected so far by the country's measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and China's experience in combating the coronavirus is inspiring, an Egyptian business leader told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Until this moment, the economic activities (in Egypt) are operating at full efficiency, and factories, internal trade, exports, imports and all sectors are operating and have not stopped," said Alaa Ezz, secretary-general of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC).

The Egyptian government has recently taken strict precautionary measures to control the outbreak of the coronavirus, including shutting down schools, universities and all classes, suspending flights, conferences and exhibitions, reducing employees and sterilizing hotels, government offices and public means of transport.

On Thursday, the Egyptian cabinet decided to close coffee shops, clubs, malls, restaurants and other entertainment facilities from early evening to early morning over coronavirus concerns.

Ezz described the decisions as "inevitable," noting some countries such as China, Italy and Spain preceded Egypt in taking stricter measures despite their potential negative impact on trade and industry.

But Egypt has also decided to cushion the possible repercussions of the measures by supporting industrial activities, including reducing natural gas price for energy-intensive industries, the FEDCOC chief told Xinhua.

"Such decisions are meant to back and float the national industry in such exceptional circumstances that the whole world is going through," Ezz said.

The government's incentives announced on Tuesday also included lowering electricity prices for electricity-based industries and not increasing them for other industries for the next three to five years.

The government will also provide 1 billion Egyptian pounds (63 million U.S. dollars) for exporters during March and April and delay tax payments for three months on real estate owned by factories and tourism companies to ease the impact of the novel coronavirus.

Ezz highlighted no shortage of food commodities or other goods in Egypt, according to his meetings with the minister of supplies and internal trade and the meetings within the federation.

"Main producers and importers confirmed that they in January distributed all necessary commodities to large retailers and chains and they are sufficient for consumption during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that falls in late April," he said.

Egypt has so far confirmed 210 COVID-19 cases since the highly-infectious disease first appeared in the country in mid-February, including six deaths and 28 recoveries.

As for China's response to the emerging crisis of the novel coronavirus, Ezz described the giant Asian country as "disciplined," noting it is one of China's most important advantages in times of crises.

"The state decisions and the government measures in China, including the lockdown of highly affected areas, led to very good results that can be seen in the sharp decline of infection and death rates there," the FEDCOC secretary-general said.

Ezz hailed the Chinese measures in fighting COVID-19 as "successful and largely effective."

"The Chinese experience in dealing with the coronavirus crisis is inspiring, and we have already started to learn from it and implement similar measures," the Egyptian senior businessman told Xinhua. Enditem

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from