The planning and budget committee of the Egyptian Parliament has demanded from the Egyptian Awqaf (religious endowments) Authority a memorandum regarding the reasons for its losses over the past fiscal year. The memorandum is supposed to include all the data about the lands, real estate, and companies owned by the authority, as well as dues for suppliers, and the organisational structure of the authority.
Committee member Talaat Khalil said that the authority’s net losses are estimated to be EGP 32m and that the amount is due to the lack of optimal utilisation of authority assets, including agricultural lands, companies, real estate, and factories.
He added that the authority has about EGP 2.5bn in its bank accounts, left without being invested in factories and creating new jobs.
The Awqaf Authority is seeking to become the largest sovereign fund of the Egyptian government following the examination of its inventory, which is soon to be finalised by the concerned committee.
Ahmed Abdelhafez, head of the authority, said in an earlier statement to Daily News Egypt that the authority’s total real estate assets and lands are worth EGP 800bn in 20 governorates, in addition to a deposits portfolio estimated to be EGP 2.5bn, and cash assets the authority aims to inject into the Egyptian Exchange over the upcoming period.
Khalil said that the existence of such large amounts in banks, left without being invested, reflects the strategy of the previous administration of the authority, which resulted in a major waste of investment opportunities that could otherwise generate a large number of jobs for young people.
He added that this is the first time that the authority’s revenues have been examined, adding that it is necessary that the committee be provided with data and information about property, assets, and companies in order to utilise them optimally.
The Awqaf Authority is planning to launch a residential city on an area of 950 feddans within a month, with investments over EGP 100bn. The project will be launched in three phases over five years.
The city includes 306 feddans for residential use, 301 feddans for villas, 30 feddans for hotels, 60 feddans for malls, 27 feddans for a sports club, 88 feddans for entertainment, and 126 for various other uses.
Additionally, the authority will launch three other real estate projects, such as tourist resorts in Alexandria on two plots of land of 30 and 27 feddans, in addition to a tourist resort in Ismailia and Tel El Kebir on an area of 47 feddans through partnership.
The authority submitted a suggestion to the cabinet in order to offer lands in governorates to be assessed for use based on an usufruct system in exchange for lands in the New Administrative Capital, especially since the authority’s rules does not allow selling lands and only allows an exchange of lands.