Egypt’s Ministry of Finance has agreed to present EGP 3 bn in funding provided by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to state banks for soft loans to tourist and hotel establishments at 5% annual interest, in a bid to contain the COVID-19 fallout, Invest-Gate reports.

The ministry will guarantee the loans for three years, including a one-year grace period, aiming to help tourism companies cover wages, commitments to suppliers, and maintenance expenses, amid a COVID-induced slump, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait revealed in a ministerial statement on May 12.

Beneficiaries are allowed to use up to 15% of the loan to cover basic operations costs, Maait highlighted.

“A committee, comprising representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the CBE, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and other lending banks, has been formed to follow up on the implementation of this initiative,” he noted.

According to Maait, the Egyptian government also decided to drop the real estate taxes imposed on hotel and tourism establishments for a period of six months, in addition to postponing all payment dues for three months with no extra charges.

It is worth noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier approved Egypt’s request for emergency financial assistance of USD 2.772 bn, under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to overcome the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.