Direct Land Sale Law To Be Re-Enacted: Housing Minister

The Egyptian Minister of Housing and Urban Communities Dr. Tarek Wafiq revealed that the Ministry has drafted a law regulating the Suez Canal Corridor Development Project and referred it to the Cabinet from three weeks and it will be discussed at the Shura Council soon. The law is unprecedented as it seeks the establishment of an authority to manage the project and make it compete with international ports. The Authority’s board of directors will have the powers of ministries and the head of the heads of the authority will have a similar status of a deputy prime minister, he added.

He revealed in an interview with Amwal Al Ghad that the fifth basin of Ain Sokhna will be offered within two months in a tender and the full plan of the development of the region will be submitted within a week to five international consulting offices including PHP office which had designed East Port Said Port.

The Ministry has finalized the regulation of the New Urban Communities Authority and it will be discussed in the next meeting of the Authority’s board of directors by the middle of next April. This regulation will remove many of the obstacles facing investors. The government has achieved much progress in the settlement process of the pending disputes with investors as DAMAC Properties, for example, has sent a settlement scheme to the Ministry to be approved.

The Armed Forces have not objected to the law, but the Ministry discussed the methods of offering the lands of the project for sale and the nature of the project with the Ministry of Defense and also discussed the project with the Ministries of Investment and Transport so as to set a clear plan for the project in coordination with other ministries.

The project is not hinged on issuing the development law, as the project of the second container terminal has been already offered in a tender and the fifth basin of Ain Sokhna will be offered within two months. The first phase of the Technology Valley Project is being executed. The full plan of the development of the region will be submitted within a week to five international consulting offices including PHP office which designed East Port Said Port.

He noted that the Ministry of Housing has provided faltering investors with a number of facilitating procedures such as cancelling interest for default in repayment of loans and extending establishment periods with the aim of bailing out faltering companies without prejudice to the country’s rights. New cities, even the first generation of the new cities such as 10th of Ramadan City, still require large volume of investments as they have not met the target growth rates.

Cityscape Egypt will reflect the strength of the Egyptian real estate sector and its capability to attract new investments as it has all the required factors to achieve high growth rates in the upcoming period, he affirmed.

The Minister of Housing has submitted a request to the Cabinet about amending the law regulating the New Urban Communities Authority to be able to conduct direct land sale as well as auction sale as the Authority is not a merchant, but rather a developer.

The Minister said we need a clear legal basis for the direct sale process, transparency in the pricing process that shall be conducted in accordance with a number of certain criteria, justice in the direct sale and supervision over that process with a legal basis which is currently sought from the Ministry.

Wafiq demanded the breaking of the law of bids and auctions whether by amending it or by obtaining a permission from the Cabinet to apply the direct sale process. The Ministry asked the Cabinet for a special permit for a specified period to conduct land auctions, noting that the fourth phase will be offered in a tender by the middle of next May.

He has emphasized that the Ministry finalized the amendment of the real estate regulation and it will be discussed by NUCA’s board of directors in mid-April and it may change the investments’ course within the next phase, especially this regulation will include wider powers for the headers of cities which facilitate the work and eliminate bureaucracy as many investors have suffered a lot from the bureaucracy in the past phase.

 

The Ministry has achieved the settlement process of the pending disputes with investors. The settlement scheme of Damac Properties is offered to the Housing Ministry so as to be signed. He noted that Damac has sent the scheme to be signed which reveals the approval of Damac on it. As for Al Futtaim’s settlement, it will be ended soon.

 

Wafiq has explained that the ministry has demanded from the Cabinet to amend NUCA’s act in order to conduct auctions in cases and direct sale in other cases, especially that NUCA is a developer not a merchant of lands.

 

Finally, Wafiq has affirmed that the ministry is planning now to deal with low-income people in various ways based on two axes first to aware citizens and push them to open the closed residential units and to offer these residential units for rent, which is the best solution to solve the housing dilemma of the low-income as people are suffering from the high prices of the residential units. The second axis is to provide a financial support for renting not for the ownership.

 

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