President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inspected on Saturday national projects in Eastern Port Said and extended for three months the deadline for the completion of several projects in the area in light of the army’s anti-terrorism Operation Sinai 2018.
El-Sisi is inspecting projects including the constructions of a major industrial zone, a sea port and several fish farms, according to the presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.
The president agreed to prolong the deadline for the completion of the projects after listening to a presentation by the army’s engineering authority head Kamel El-Wazeer.
El-Sisi said that the projects had been stalled due to a lack of funds, adding that the estimated cost of the projects exceeds EGP 60 billion.
The new Suez Canal project, inaugurated in August 2015, collected EGP 64 billion in 2014 by selling non-tradable certificates with a maturity of five years at 12 percent interest to Egyptian nationals.
El-Sisi said that the funds collected from the certificates were not all spent on digging the new canal, but also on digging more tunnels and setting up new projects, adding that the state’s capability to carry out projects depends on the availability of funding.
Presidency spokesman Rady said in press statements during the president’s visit that the projects are part of the Suez Canal Area Development Zone project, which covers around 460 square kilometres.
“The Suez Canal Area Development is an integrated project that makes use of natural resources in Sinai, deriving maximum benefit from the Suez Canal area as an international logistics centre, not just as a waterway,” Rady said.
Saturday’s visit comes as part of a nearly weekly routine by the president to visit works completed during his four-year tenure ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, which are set for 26-28 March.