Govt to stop subsidizing energy for cement factories, says minister

The government will no longer subsidize energy for new cement factories, including 14 factories for which licenses have already been issued, according to the industry and trade minister.

Minister Hatem Saleh told a press conference on Sunday that the new factories will individually purchase energy through the Petroleum Ministry according to international rates, and that energy prices for existing cement plants would gradually be readjusted to be even with prices for new ones.

Saleh added that Egyptian exports between January and July 2012 were 5 percent less than the same period last year. He expects total exports to be LE130 billion by the end of 2012, below the target of LE160 billion. He also projected a further decline of 18 percent in August alone.

In addition to the depreciation of the Euro and worldwide economic crises, Saleh attributed the decline in exports to increasing labor strikes, especially in the ports of Ain Sokhna and Damietta, which have prompted investors to cancel their contracts with the Egyptian government.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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