CAIRO: The Egyptian parliament is expected next week to discuss a new bill submitted by the government to amend the Suez Canal Authority law.
The aim is to establish a fund owned by the authority with an independent legal personality to be headquartered in Ismailia. More offices could be set up in the future elsewhere in the country.
The amendments would enable the fund to contribute to the canal’s economic development through the exploitation of its resources in accordance with international standards, and better deal with crises and emergency situations as they occur.
The changes would grant the authority the right to participate, alone or with others, in establishing companies, investing in securities, buying, selling, renting, exploiting and benefiting from its fixed and movable assets — provided that the authorized capital of the fund is 100 billion Egyptian pounds ($5.09 billion).
The government has said the fund would maximize the canal’s revenues.
The move is significant in light of the challenges facing the Suez Canal facility as a result of weak global economic performance and a decline in international trade rates.
“Issuing such amendments to the Suez Canal Authority law are related to the economic conference that will be held at the end of this month, which may also lead to other economic ideas,” journalist Emad El-Din Hussein told Arab News.
“The successive international developments will impose different and varied challenges on the Egyptian government, especially the repercussions of the global economic crisis and its effects on us in the region,” he said.
Economist Ahmed Sayed Mahmoud said: “I expect a local economic boom, especially with the Egyptian government’s desire to change and amend some laws that would contribute to supporting the national economy, including the amendments to the Suez Canal Authority law.”
He added: “Opening up to all kinds of investment is very beneficial to the economy, whether through acquisitions or pumping investments in new companies and factories.”