Investment certificates issued earlier this month to finance the digging of a new Suez Canal have attracted EGP 27 billion ($3.8 billion) of fresh cash to the Egyptian banking system, announced the central bank’s governor, Hisham Ramez, on Sunday.
The government has gathered a total of EGP 64 billion from the certificates, surpassing the EGP 60 billion initially targeted to finance the national project, Ramez told reporters at a press conference.
The certificates were sold exclusively to Egyptians in the local currency at values of EGP 10, EGP 100, EGP 1000 at an interest rate of 12 percent, the highest offered on any such instruments by Egyptian banks.
They were met with huge popular demand, as 82 percent of buyers were individuals, with EGP 15.7 million worth of the lower value EGP 10 and EGP 100 certificates sold.
Only 10 percent of Egyptians have bank accounts, according to the World Bank.
A total of $1.5 billion were converted to Egyptian pounds inside the banking system to buy the certificates, and Egyptian expatriates bought EGP 350 million worth of certificates.
The extra EGP 4 billion collected will be used to fund the project, confirmed Ramez.
The extension of the canal, which links the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, is expected to increase annual revenues from the waterway to Egypt’s coffers over the next nine years to $12-13 billion, according to Finance Minister Hany Qadry Demian.
Source: Ahram Online