Egypt's New Suez Canal: A National Mobilization Is Underway
August 21, 2014 • 6:59PM

The national mobilization for building Egypt's New Suez Canal Project continues apace. The Egyptian Army Corps of Engineers is posting daily updates on the status of work on the project. At this moment 43 companies have started work, and 13.6 million cubic meters earth has been removed, according to Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohamed Samir.

The Armed Forces has called on all Egyptian youth to apply for job vacancies at the project as well as at other national projects nationwide. The call says that job applicants should not be more than 45 years old, be efficient with periodic equipment maintenance, and have completed or been exempted from military service.

Meanwhile it was announced that the engineering consultancy firm Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) has won the bid for the second phase of the Suez Canal Project. Operations director of the company's Cairo branch Yehia Zaki said Thursday that there is an "aggressive" plan to finish the studies as soon as possible.

Meanwhile Cairo is taking some protectionist measures. The Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) met Thursday with Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour to discuss the drafting of a new Local Production Protection Law, FEI head Mohamed al Suwaidi said, according to the Cairo Post. "The new law will promote our national industry and reduce the illegal parallel market," Suwaidi said.

Nour said the FEI began preparing the draft of the law in May. He added that the new law obliges governmental authorities to buy local products instead of imported products. "According to the law, the government would purchase any local industry provided that the proportion of local components in the product is at least 40%," stated Nour.

Magdy al-Manzalawy, a member of the FEI's board of directors, welcomed the new law. "It encourages the local industrial sector to increase production and gives local products priority in purchases paid by the government provided that the quality and price are acceptable for the state's authorities," he said.

"The Egyptian market is now full of imported low-price products including clothes, shoes, bags, automobiles, motorcycles, cigarettes and children toys, so the government should give local industry a fair chance rather than encouraging imported products," he added.

"All measures should be taken to protect Egyptian-made products as well as to protect consumers from poor quality products," He said. "We are in dire need of new legislation to fight indiscriminate importing as well as to protect our local production."