Sisi ratifies $500 mln World Bank loan deal

The deal is set to fund Egypt’s national natural gas project and to benefit 1.5 million households

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Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi ratified on Thursday a $500 million loan agreement with the World Bank to channel money into a national natural gas project set to benefit 1.5 million households who currently rely on older means of gas consumption, local paper al-Ahram reported.

Connecting new households to Egypt’s natural gas grid system will enable Cairo to reach its target to save about $300 million annually in fuel subsidies.

The deal also comes in line with Sisi’s reforms targets which include subsidies and massive debt.

In late march, Egypt’s finance ministry said the country’s fuel subsidy bill for the first half of the current fiscal year fell to $5.9 billion from $8.4 billion a year earlier.

Egypt cut fuel subsidies last summer, raising prices of gasoline, diesel and natural gas by as much as 78 percent.

Sisi’s ratification of the deal comes after Egypt and the World Bank signed an initial agreement in September last year.

The World Bank has funded 26 projects in Egypt, worth a total of $5.4 billion.