Ownership banned in Suez Canal region project

A senior Egyptian official has said that a legal framework banning all property ownership in the Suez Canal region would be presented to the government with days.

Walid Abdel Ghaffar, an adviser to the transportation minister told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the new draft law, prepared by legal experts, bans all investors from land ownership, Egyptian and foreign, as the region will be under a usufruct system only.

Abdel Ghaffar also said that no property within the project area will be sold and that all land there will continue to be state property. Investors will be able to rent land under the usufruct system, and all offers will be studied within the law, except those that infringe on national security.

He added that investors would be dealt with through a "one-window" system to avoid bureaucracy, and that the state would also establish a special body to manage the region's projects.

Referring to Egypt's ongoing political instability, Abdel Ghaffar said that “such events will not affect a huge project with investments that would last for many years.

The Suez Canal is currently a major source of foreign currency, providing the country with around US$5 billion a year.

The 193.30 km (120.11 mile) canal is the quickest sea route between Asia and Europe. Some Egyptians have alleged that current President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood are plotting to rent the canal out to Qatar, though no such plan has been uncovered. The canal is a significant source of national pride for many Egyptians.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm 

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