The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development signed a $10 million loan agreement with the Arab Republic of Egypt to help finance construction of grain silos in 20 governorates. The scheme will support government’s aim to increase grain storage capacity and improve the speed and efficiency of its handling.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Egypt’s economy, particularly the export of wheat, corn and other grains. Additional storage capacity, however, is urgently needed as much of the grain is housed in traditional open “yards” that offer little protection from humidity, insects and other damaging influences, resulting in losses of over eight million dollars annually.
Under the current project, 20 metal silos will be constructed on sites selected according to their proximity to main roads and cultivation areas, and where the incidence of grain lost is highest. Each silo will have a storage capacity of at least 30,000 tons, and each complex will be equipped with truck and railway receiving pits, delivery portals and scales, as well as tunnels and modern conveyance systems.
It is anticipated that the project will save the government almost $19 million per year, which will be used for purchasing additional silos until a network is established across the entire country.
This project represents the Fund’s fifth lending operation in Egypt. Of the earlier loans, one was extended for balance of payments support and three supported projects in the health, national development banks and education sectors.
Additionally, two private sector loans totaling some $14 million have been approved. Egypt has also benefited from two research grants and four technical assistance grants in the agriculture and education sectors.
Lending terms include interest rate of three percent per annum, with an annual service charge of one percent on amounts withdrawn and outstanding; maturity of 20 years, including a grace period of five years. The appraising agency is the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Co-financiers are the IsDB and the Government of Egypt. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )